DUBAI: Global trade enabler DP World signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Namibia’s Nara Namib Free Economic Industrial Zone on Tuesday to develop a free economic zone for industry and logistics in Walvis Bay to support the growth of Namibia as a regional hub for Southern Africa.

The development will help Namibia grow as a centre for industrial operations and logistics, creating opportunities and jobs across multiple sectors including agriculture, fishing, automotive and mining. The facility at Walvis Bay will provide businesses with development-ready land for industrial and logistics operations, pre-built warehouses and office accommodation.

The first phase will be a gross developed area of 50 hectares, with expansion opportunities up to 1,500 hectares. The parties have set the second quarter of 2020 as the target date for reaching a definitive agreement on the project.

The development of the first 50 hectares phase of the zone has the potential to create 3,000 jobs and help attract investment to Namibia of 3.5 billion Namibian dollars (Dh862.81 million). Expansion to 1,500 hectares is expected to increase the potential investment to N$25 billion with 20,000 job opportunities.

Enhancing Walvis Bay as a hub will support Namibia by increasing trade flows with surrounding markets such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa. Namibia is in a prime location on the Southern African Development Community Corridor.

As part of the MoU, DP World plans to bring to the project its extensive expertise and track record in establishing and operating some of the world’s leading ports, logistical parks and free zones integrated with railways and trucking. DP World has a network of more than 150 operations in 46 countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Suhail Al Banna, CEO and Managing Director — Middle East and Africa at DP World, said, “DP World is pleased to work with Nara Namib to explore how we can work together to enable smarter trade in Namibia. We believe the country has great potential to expand its role as a hub for the region. The Namibian government’s recent legislation on free zones and efforts to facilitate greater business provides an attractive environment for investment.”

In turn, Andre Olivier of Nara Namib commented, “Today’s MoU brings us a step closer to fulfilling Namibia’s vast trade and economic development prospects, and we look forward to benefiting from DP World’s global expertise and network in the areas of parks, economic zones, ports and logistics while creating synergies with our strong local footprint and industry reach.”

DP World’s potential expansion in Namibia complements its notable presence in other key African nations including Senegal, Rwanda, Mozambique, Egypt, Algeria and Somaliland.