Sustainable Transport Master Plan for the Northern Regions has been presented to the media

The Master Plan for Sustainable Transport for Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto which has been developed by the Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development (MURD) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has been presented to the media. The presentation of the master plan for the northern regions took place on the 5th of June in Oshikango in the Ohangwena Region where regional and local authority leaders as well as representatives from transport sector SOEs attended. Transport Minster Alpheus !Naruseb emphasised in his opening remarks that the master plan provides a guideline and a vision for the development of the transport system in one of our most populated areas in Namibia and it is a crucial instrument to fulfil the overall development goals of Namibia. Urban and Rural Development Minster Sophia Shaningwa stressed that the master plan has been developed in a unique and exemplary, integrated process, in which two Ministries together with the Regional and Local Authorities as well as private sector and universities were involved came together and discussed, elaborated and acknowledge the transport challenges of the four northern regions - Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Omusati. Prof Heinrich Semar, team leader of the GIZ transport project officially handed over the master plan, which has been funded by the German Government, to the Namibian partners. Both ministers committed themselves to work together in the implementation of this very important plan for the government to enhance the countries transport sector. The implementation of the plan will be carried out soon after Cabinet’s endorsement.

Close to N$ 12.8 billion has been committed towards the master plan, which will guide the roads network in the northern regions. The master plan seeks to make provision for cyclist, pedestrians and people living with disabilities. Non-motorised transport, mainly walking and cycling, have been largely neglected in the four regions. Few sidewalks are available and are usually only found in the vicinity of shopping centre. Pedestrians mostly walk on the sandy road reserve. Cycling is very limited because using the road can be very dangerous and cycling in the sand is inconvenient.  The plan further plans to seek and make scheduled public transport between the rural and urban area and between cities as well as ensure each regional capital has reliable, efficient and affordable public bus services on routes where there is sufficient traffic. Thus cross cutting issues such as road safety and the environment are given high priority in the development of the Master plan