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The Promise of better tomorrow...
Transport network, the backbone of a rising country
Published by: Chaggan Etokabeka
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To travel on highways outside of towns and cities in Angola (and in some cases within) is often not best advised for those without four-by-four vehicles. Whilst a reasonable road infrastructure has existed within Angola, time and the war have taken their toll on the road surfaces, leaving many severely potholed and littered with broken asphalt. In many areas drivers have established alternate tracks to avoid the worst parts of the surface, although careful attention must be paid to the presence or absence of landmine warning markers by the side of the road.The Angolan government has contracted the restoration of many of the country’s roads, though.

Many companies are coming into the country from China and other nations to help improve road surfaces. The road between Lubango and Namibe, for example, was completed recently with funding from the European Union. More so, a country the size of Angola (6th in Africa) can also not afford to have an airline industry that is not running correctly. In 2003, domestic and international carriers carried only 198,000 passengers for the course of the year. Angola had an estimated total of 43 airports in 2004. But, only 31 had paved runways in 2005. However, these will soon be things of the past. The domestic terminal of the Luanda’s “4 de Fevereiro” International Airport is being renovated and it will have its capacity doubled upon conclusion of the renovation from the current 600-700 passengers to about 1200-1300 per day.

Furthermore, a new international airport has been under construction since the end of 2008 near the municipality of Viana 40 kilometers from Luanda, in an area of 324 hectares. At completion the airport would cover an area of 582,000 square meters with a maneuvering area of 5,125 square meters. The terminals at Viana will have 31 boarding tunnels, 20 of which will be for the international area and 11 for domestic flights. It will also have two double runways capable of receiving the world’s largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380. According to Manuel Ferreira de Ceita, directorgeneral of the National Company for the Exploration of Airports and Air Navigation (ENANA): “Angola, due to its geostrategic position, can become a hub using several forms of transport modes to provide service to its people and to those from neighboring countries and perhaps from the world”.

In order to become this hub, Angola plans to use its three railway lines of Luanda (north), Benguela (central) and Moçâmedes (south) to interconnect with Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Angola will also build new ports in Cabinda and at Barra do Dande in Bengo province, 50 km north of Luanda’Carla Marques, the Transport Ministry’s infrastructure director said: “As soon as construction of the Barra do Dande port begins, work will begin on the branch line connecting the Luanda railroad to that port. We want rail interconnections to each of the ports – Luanda, Lobito and Namibe …Completion of those projects, probably by 2014, will facilitate the interconnection with Zambia, DR Congo and Namibia".

This positive outlook upon Angola is also shared by non Angolans. Speaking at the 5th Africa Economic Forum in Cape Town, the C.E.O. of the South-Africa - Angola Chamber of Commerce, Roger Ballard-Tremeer argued that although Angola is still an “ultra Challenging” market, the country’s recently upgraded infrastructure and a government with a new focus on transparency is likely to make it easier to do business. It seems that Angola is not only on the fast lane to the future but also on the runway to take off to better tomorrows.

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