WINDHOEK, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Amid lackluster economy and surging unemployment, some Namibians have found solace in the road construction sector, where, thanks to some Chinese projects, new jobs are emerging.
Among them is Elina Nashixwa, a human resource manager for China Henan International Cooperation Group, which recently upgraded a road linking Otjinene with Okamatapati in the east Omaheke region.
The over 140-km road that was upgraded to bitumen standards by the company was inaugurated by President Hage Geingob last week.
Nashixwa has been part of the project for the past three years and she says the whole industry has transformed her life in ways she could have never imagined.
"I am blessed to be a part of this project which has employed half thousand young Namibians who three years ago were unemployed. I now have skills that I did not have before," she said.
The massive motorway construction program envisioned by Namibia is set to improve transport connections and boost the country's economy.
The new motorways, as well as many new rural roads being built, will connect the country's many small and remote villages to the main road network.
Yet apart from improving transportation and boosting trade, Nashixwa suggests the road has transformed many local people's lives in a more specific way.
Among the locals the company hired, many started off with no knowledge to become skilled and specialized.
Nashixwa is in charge of organizational development, industrial relations and recruitment, and she said apart from managerial positions, locals also took up jobs that require very special skills.
"Final cutters operate the grader machine for the tar to be leveled, which is very complicated and all this knowledge was taught by the Chinese nationals," she said.
The new bitumen-standard road between Gobabis and Grootfontein links the Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions via the Otjinene-Okondjatu and Okamatapati settlements.
Construction on the project started in December 2013, and the final section is a 110-km stretch between Okamatapati and Grootfontein that will be launched in July.
More than 15 small and medium enterprises were involved in the construction of the road and 500 people were employed during the peak period. A further 300 unskilled Namibian were also engaged during the construction.
The Otjinene-Okamatapati road forms part of the Southern African Regional Trunk Road linking Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana with Angola via Namibia.
Namibia was once accorded the top position for having the best roads in Africa by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which found Namibia's roads to be the best in Africa and of similar quality to those in Britain and Puerto Rico.
The expansion of the road network has already started to bear fruit as many communities in Namibia are now able to sell their products to major urban centers in the country and beyond.
Also, the road infrastructure of Namibia continues to contribute to the economic growth of other SADC countries as Namibia is currently accessible by all the SADC member states, with land-locked countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo now having access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Port of Walvis Bay.