Inhabitants of Ndiyona Constituency in Kavango East Region on Tuesday witnessed the official ground-breaking ceremony at Khaudum National Park that will pave the way for the construction of three park stations, 61 staff houses at the three stations plus attractive entrance gates and visitor receptions and offices.
The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Tommy Nambahu, together with the Counsellor for Development Cooperation of the German Embassy, Christian Grun.
The park stations will cost N$136 million, of which N$107 million is provided by German cooperation and N$29 million by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET).
“It an honour for me to be here to witness together with you the ground-breaking for the two new park management stations in Khaudum National Park,” said Grun. The other management station will be built in another park.
“It is a great pleasure to be in the beautiful Kavango East Region which is not only a rich and diverse region but also -at least partly – forms part of the larger Kavango-Zambezi-Transfrontier Conservation Area, the biggest transfrontier conservation area in the world,” Grun added.
“The MET once again expresses its heartfelt thanks through His Excellency the German Ambassador to the Republic of Namibia for the continued support and friendship,” Nambahu responded.
Nambahu said he was also grateful to the German Development Bank (KfW) – the co-financier behind the NamParks Project on behalf of the German Government – and the project management unit for ensuring the funding is managed well and that projects are implemented accordingly.
“We want this infrastructure development to be completed on schedule so that immediately after completion we come here for the inauguration of the offices and new park stations,” he said.
“Our ongoing cooperation aims to foster conservation and socio-economic development in the country. We strive to establish our parks as viable tourist destinations that will benefit the people who live alongside them,” Nambahu added.
One park station is being built at Khaudum’s northern entrance and another at Sikerette, the southern entrance of the park. The third station will be built at Shisinze in the Nkasa Rupara National Park in Zambezi Region.
The new houses will be a massive improvement on the present situation, where staff currently live in old barracks and wooden shacks and it will enable MET to recruit more qualified staff as well as improve the beneficiary parks’ management capacity.
The ceremony was also attended by the Governor of Kavango East Region, Dr Samuel Mbambo, representatives of the traditional authorities and the German Development Bank.
According to the project management, the German Development Bank provides support for the development of Namibia’s north-eastern national parks as part of the support to the focal area of ‘Natural Resource Management’ – one of the three main German-Namibian cooperation areas.
The support is also in line with the North East Parks Programme that was initiated in 1995 by MET to foster both nature conservation and socio-economic development in the Kavango and Zambezi regions. Within the framework of their bilateral development cooperation efforts, the Namibian and German governments have long realised the substantial contribution national parks bring to economic development.
The promotion of sustainable tourism, which is directly linked to national parks, is an effective strategy to enhance growth and employment and thereby reduce poverty. Germany has therefore committed a total of approximately N$400 million (€30 million) for its past and present support to MET’s development and management of national parks.
On behalf of the German Federal Government, the German Development Bank is promoting social and economic development worldwide. The bank has been active in development financing for more than four decades and has a current portfolio in more than 100 countries.