Namibian President Hage Geingob (C) cuts a ribbon to officially open a road that was upgraded to bitumen standards by the China Henan International Cooperation Group in Windhoek, Namibia, March 16, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Qiang)
WINDHOEK, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Namibian President Hage Geingob Thursday officially opened a road that was upgraded to bitumen standards by a Chinese firm.
The 140-km stretch from Otjinene to Okamatapati in the Omaheke region which borders Botswana cost 575 million Namibian dollars (about 45 million U.S. dollars) and was upgraded by China Henan International Cooperation Group.
Work on the road started on Jan. 13 in 2014 and was completed on Dec. 19 in 2016.
In his speech, Geingob said the completion of the road will position Namibia as a gateway to the southern Africa region.
Geingob said the constant expansion and upgrading of road networks is vital to increase economic performance, both within Namibia and in the southern African region in general.
According to Geingob, the project that entails the bitumen upgrading of the existing gravel road to provide a tarred road link from Otjinene to Grootfontein is set to become one of the primary economic enablers.
"The fact that the Otjinene to Okamatapati forms part of the Southern African Regional Trunk Road linking Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana with Angola via Namibia further magnifies the economic and regional significance of this project," Geingob said.
Given Namibia's high accident rate, Geingob also appealed to drivers and other road users to exercise caution, patience and courteousness.