Oshikoto region faced withroad infrastructural challenges

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Over 85 percent of land in the Oshikoto Region is in rural areas and economic progress for the region and accessibility to certain villages for residents is hampered by inadequate road infrastructure.

According to Peter Ndawedha, the Deputy Director of Development and Planning at Oshikoto Regional Council, the issue needs to be addressed urgently because some residents hardly receive critical services because certain cars cannot access their areas due to some roads that in a bad state or have never been developed.

While speaking to the National Council Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Housing last week, Ndawedha emphasised the pressing need for a more robust road network.

He underscored the fact that access to rural areas is severely hindered, leading to adverse economic consequences for the region.

“The issue of road infrastructure in Oshikoto Region is very much dire. Accessibility to rural areas in Oshikoto is quite bad when it comes to the road network,” he said.

The Committee is visiting Oshikito, Omusati, Ohangwena and the two Kavango regions to assess the status of the roads.

Ndawedha pointed out that although there have been ongoing engagements with the Roads Authority and the Ministry of Transport regarding road infrastructure development in the region, tangible progress has been elusive.

Currently, the region relies primarily on the B1 road from Tsumeb to Ondangwa, with limited alternatives.

“We only have one main road which is the B1 road from Tsumeb to Ondangwa, except for the one going out to Oshigambo which is only about 45 kilometers. The council has been engaging the Roads Authority and the ministry about road infrastructure development. We are still waiting for their responses,” said Ndawedha.

Adding that there is a glimmer of hope for the region for the development of the much-awaited roads for villages to gain improved access to urban areas.

“There are key roads that are in the pipeline and we are looking forward to them. These roads are for connectivity to make sure the region is better off. The roads have been promised to be done and we are just waiting on the funding of the projects,” he said.

One such road that the regional council eagerly anticipates is the Omuthiya to Onanke road, a critical road that connects various villages with the urban areas but requires upgrading to the bitumen standard.

Meanwhile, Priscilla Ipinge, Deputy Director of Rural Services at Oshikoto Regional Council, also shed light on hopeful developments.

Ipinge said plans for the King Kauluma to Okongo road, covering a vast 110 kilometres is underway, with the aim of creating a vital link between Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions.

“This endeavour has the potential to transform cross-border interactions and enhance regional integration,” she said.

She, however, stressed that challenges will always persist because the need for infrastructure is not always straightforwardly met.

“The planned road between King Kauluma and Okongo faces hurdles, particularly at the Omboto Constituency, where there are no roads at all,” she added.

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