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A N$2 billion loan towards economic development programs will see about 350 jobs created in Namibia through water and road rehabilitation projects.

This comes after Namibia and Germany signed financial cooperation agreements to support key infrastructure development.

The projects entail the construction of a second direct potable reclamation plant in the central area of Namibia and support for projects under the water sector support program at a cost of N$746 million and N$932 million, respectively.

The agreement will also see the rehabilitation and upgrading of the B1 Karibib-Usakos road section to the tune of N$373 million.

The construction of more than 1800 kilometers of roads has been co-financed by the German government through the KFW Development Bank through the Roads Authority.

Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi says as the city expands, it is imperative that it has the right infrastructure to unlock development.

"If we have quality road infrastructure, it means we can move things faster, both within the country and between regions, so we are very grateful for the support. Equally, you cannot have development without water, so investing in infrastructure is a development imperative, and we are getting support to upgrade our water infrastructure so we can accommodate a higher volume of water out."

Beatrice Lucke, Director of the KFW Development Bank, said, "I think it's a good point now to set up the next stage, having a DPR 2, increasing the water supply for Windhoek by up to 50% now, and last but not least, everyone is waiting for the rainy season to come, so I know water is a big concern in Namibia, and with this agreement, we can address water scarcity, especially in the northern part of the country, especially water losses, upgrading pipelines, and rehabilitation of canals."

Namibia is expected to pay the three loans within a period of fifteen years with a grace period of five years at an interest rate of 9.7%, 9%, and 8.52% percent, respectively.

The loans, Shiimi says, are for a good cause. "Naturally people frown when they borrow, but if you are borrowing for development activities, you must not frown on that. If we are borrowing for consumption, we have to be careful if this money is going to come back because when you spend money on wages, it will not come back, but when you spend money on water, you unlock development and economic activities, meaning you will be able to generate more revenue to help you repay."

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Celma Ndhikwa