Review of the German Engagement in Public Transport in Namibia

15 Mar. 2016
by Lea Frank-Gretic

The German government is one of the main actors in developing public transport in Namibia. Since 2012 the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) engages in the development and the funding of public transport in Namibia. Today, five years later it is time to review what the German Government together with the Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) as the main political partner and the City of Windhoek (CoW) has achieved so far in Namibia:

In 2012 GIZ supported the development of a Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan for the CoW, Okahandja, Rehoboth and Hosea Kutako Airport (SUTMP). After a great number of stakeholder meetings and consultancy work, the plan was finished in 2013 and approved by cabinet in 2014. Since 2013 GIZ is now supporting the CoW to implement the SUTMP and to develop a public transport system in Windhoek. In this respect the main project stakeholders under the lead of the MWT launched the Sustainable Urban Transport Committee which is charged with governing the implementation of the Master Plan.

In November 2015 another great milestone was reached by purchasing new buses for the bus operations of the CoW. These new buses were financed jointly by the CoW and the German government, whereas the German government with EUR 3 million assumed more than half of the cost for the new buses. These actions go hand in hand with the stepwise installment of new bus lines and the configuration of the public bus transport system.

But not only public transport is part of the SUTMP also non-motorized transport (NMT) is addressed in the Master Plan. Since 2011 GIZ is creating awareness and promotes cycling through the support of events like cycle to work day and supporting NGOs with training and bicycles. Furthermore GIZ is now advising the MWT and the CoW in the design and tendering of new NMT-infrastructure as well as actively supporting the CoW in developing a NMT strategy to define networks and quality standards for an improved NMT infrastructure.

The focus of the BMZ financed project implemented by GIZ is also to train the respective staff in various fields in order for them to assume autonomous execution of their responsibilities. In course of the capacity building GIZ is hosting training for employees of the CoW as well as for the MWT. Part of these trainings are done within the workplace and focus on traffic planning, non-motorized Transport, policy regulation as well as bus operations. GIZ is also supporting the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) with the specific study paths in engineering and infrastructure planning. To give more vivid impressions, GIZ is also conducting study tours to South Africa, Botswana and Germany to show the employees of MWT and CoW best practice examples.

Last but not least the SUTMP also served as a blueprint for a similar project in the northern regions of Namibia and the learnings which are taken from Windhoek are being transferred to this project ( The project in the northern regions, besides urban transport, also focuses on rural transport services. Until end of 2016 a master plan for the further development of public and non-motorized transport in the four involved regions will be available and then submitted to Cabinet.

All in all the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through the GIZ has a very successful track record in public transport in Namibia and intends to keep up the support for the years to come in order to continue with the implementation of public transport in Namibia.

The Transport project, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH under the management of Prof. Dr. Heinrich Semar.