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New China-Backed Africa Terminal Unveiled

New China-Backed Africa Terminal Unveiled

Namibia has taken another step towards becoming an international trade and shipping hub with the opening of a new US$400 million container terminal at the Port of Walvis Bay.

According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, the terminal was opened by Namibian President Hage Geingob on August 2, 2019 and will increase the Port’s TEU capacity from 350,000 to 750,000.

Speaking at a ceremony, President Geingob was quoted saying the new terminal was vital to the country achieving its ‘Vision 2030’ plans.

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“Today is a culmination of a long-cherished vision of transforming Walvis Bay, from a predominantly fishing harbor inherited at reintegration into Namibia, into an express-hub to international markets,” he said.

The terminal was constructed on 40 hectares of land by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) in less than five years in a move that demonstrates the close cooperation between Beijing and the African state.

Vice President of CHECH, Li Yi, also spoke at the ceremony and said the new port was a critical component of Namibia’s development.

Furthermore, Joseph Nguire, the African Development Bank’s Director-General, said the terminal will help open commercial opportunities in nearby landlocked countries, such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.  

China has been spending heavily on Africa’s maritime infrastructure as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In September 2018, PTI reported how it had announced a fund of $60 billion in order to rejuvenate Africa.  

In the same month, it signed a deal with Liberian Registry, the largest maritime administration in the world, which meant Liberian-flagged vessels will get preferential tonnage due when visiting any Chinese port.

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