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Don’t use dry port for illicity dealings: Dep Minister

ZIMBABWEANS should not abuse the privilege extended to the country by Namibia to establish a dry port at Walvis Bay by engaging in illicit dealings when conducting trade.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister Dr David Musabayana said this in a speech read on his behalf by Bulawayo Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Paul Nyoni, during an information session at a local hotel yesterday.

Zimbabwe established the dry port, which was commissioned by President Mnangagwa in Walvis Bay in 2019 to provide a strategic and cheaper gateway to the Atlantic Ocean while boosting the country’s economy through enhanced international trade. “The dry port also benefits Namibia by having increased volumes of freight moving through the port by capturing cargo closer to source or further up the supply chain.

“It should be noted that as Zimbabwe focuses more on trade as a stimulant to economic development, shifting focus from the traditional pillars of FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) and multilateral agents lending, Zimbabwean merchants should be careful not to mishandle the courtesy and hospitality extended to us by the Republic of Namibia.

“I, therefore, call upon the business community to be vigilant against nefarious activities such as smuggling, illicit trade in drugs, arms, human trafficking and other vices,” he said.

Dr Musabayana said Government was excited with the progress Namibia has made in operationalising the Zimbabwe Dry Port.

The dry port, built on 18 333 square metres, now allows Zimbabwean traders to be competitive in international markets by importing and exporting directly to Europe, West Africa and America using ocean cargo services.

“I therefore call upon all players to play their roles as we develop the associated corridors. I am also excited with the progress in operationalisation of the Zimbabwe Dry Port, a development that has the likelihood of being one of the greatest developments to happen to the logistics and trade industry in recent years,” he said.

The setting up of the dry port is a positive development marking the beginning of the Walvis Bay Corridor Roadshow, which could have begun from June 18 to July 3 this year, but was suspended indefinitely due to Covid-19.

The roadshow was being conducted by Namibia Ambassador to Zimbabwe Nicklaas Kandjii, Zimbabwe Ambassador to Namibia Rofina Chikava and officials from the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, among others.

“As a way of benchmarking and learning from the Zimbabwean experience, I am sure you (Namibia visiting delegation) have learned a lot from what you saw and I urge you to make use of your findings for the betterment of our countries and the whole of the Sadc region.

“It is my belief that your engagement with the southern region that includes Matabeleland North and South as well as Bulawayo Metropolitan will lead to tangible results as the business community in the country makes use of the Walvis Bay Port and the dry port in trading with the West (America and West Africa),” he said.

“The successful implementation of the dry port concept and the use of the Walvis Bay by Zimbabwe and the Sadc region will have the effects of turning Walvis Bay Port into a regional logistical hub; increase continental trade, which is in line with the Vision 2030 and Vision 2063 creating the Africa we want.”

Amb Kandjii said the dry port facility shows seriousness of the cooperation between the two Sadc countries.

He said the bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Namibia were excellent, but a lot still needs to be done to improve economic ties.

“The bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Namibia are very excellent politically, but economically, we need to match this relationship, therefore this is our effort to strengthen trade and investment,” said Amb Kandjii.

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