Nam needs funds and innovative solutions to drive development
Windhoek – Namibia needs to collaborate with other countries and institutions to address challenges of ageing infrastructure, especially roads to make them safer and sustainable, says infrastructure expert, Professor Stefan Strick.
Namibia has one of the highest road accident rates in the southern African region. Road accidents remain one of the leading killers in the country, alongside malaria and HIV/AIDS.
Speaking during a public lecture at the Polytechnic of Namibia, Professor Strick noted that the story is the same all over the world – congested, ageing or inadequate infrastructure represents a major barrier to growth.
The President of German Federal Highway Research Institute said the new challenges facing Namibian roads are demographic, climate change, technological development, globalisation and sustainability.
For Namibia to meet these challenges, new infrastructure financing models and new sources of funding ‑ specifically the deployment of private capital for public purposes are required, Stick said.
The lecture, organised by the Polytechnic’s Civil Engineering Department, was highly attended by representatives from the roads construction and maintenance sector, government departments and agencies, and local authorities.
Contributing to the discussion, the Deputy Director of Civil Engineering at Polytechnic of Namibia, Klaus Mueller, said managing the current problem of damaged road infrastructure requires government and other stakeholders to prioritise regular assessment, evaluation and monitoring of Namibia's roads infrastructure.
This, Mueller said, will only be realised when all stakeholders including the Ministry of Works, the roads sector, local authorities and tertiary institutions collaborate to share ideas and promote knowledge transfer.
“It is imperative that we establish the cause of the extensive damage to the roads, whether this is due to the poor quality of the roads or to climate change” he said.