Klaus Dierks Ph.D.


Communication links are the lifelines of Africa. The Republic of Namibia has developed a strong local commitment to optimised communication policies in the institutional and technical fields in order to secure sustainable developments in the economic sector performance.

Economically Namibia still has a structurally heterogeneous, de-integrated economy. It is characterised by the extraction and export of its rich mineral, agricultural and fishing resources whereas the impoverished subsistence economy of many areas serves the interests of the modern-sector-economy. Northern Namibia, in fact, is a "residual" labour reserve with little cash income or commercialised production, so that it has little effective demand for goods and services including telecommunication facilities. This situation formed the basis for one of the characteristics of Namibian communications: its unbalance between the "modern" and the former "homeland" sector. One of the principal objectives of the Namibian Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication is to overcome this characteristic and to develop an optimal and well balanced communications system in order to create a structurally sound and integrated economy and to balance the "first world" and the " third world" Namibias.

At the date of Namibia's Independence on 21 March 1990 the country had approximately 4 telecommunication lines per 100 inhabitants compared with 0,72 for Kenya, 0,55 for Ghana, 1,26 for Zambia or 0,2 for Ethiopia with automatic links to more than 150 countries world-wide. This development was strengthened even further after Independence making Namibia one of the leaders in telecommunications in Africa. The progress in the fields of telecommunications was reinforced by the bridging of the "two Namibias", the modern-sector Namibia and the neglected areas as well as the creation of links between Namibia and her land-locked neighbours in the east. Namibia's telecommunication's institutional and technical system can serve as an example to other African countries, thus proving that there is less justification for Afro-pessimism today than there was in the 1980s.


2.1 A Geographic Country Profile

Namibia is a semi-arid to arid country with a size of 824km 2 in the south-western corner of Africa and a total population of a little more than 1.7 million inhabitants, one of the most thinly populated countries in the world. The country is confined between two deserts, the Kalahari desert in the east and the Namib desert in the west with a African savannah high plateau in the middle (1000 to 2000 m) The capital is Windhoek with approximately 250 000 inhabitants and an altitude of an average 1600m.

Namibia's arid climate is influenced by the subtropical belt in which the whole country is situated. Namibia's precipitation is caused by a displacement of the "Southern Inter Tropical Convergence" zone in a southerly direction during the summe r rainy season. The distribution of atmospheric pressure, the precipitation and wind conditions are responsible for a parallel grouping of rainfall areas from the north-east to the south-west, from mean annual precipitations from approximately 600to 50In this general direction the precipitation as well as the reliability of occurrence of rainfalls is decreasing.

2.2 A Brief Overview Of Namibia's History

The early period of Namibia's history is characterised by the complete absence of recorded data. The exploration of the country by Europeans began along the Atlantic coast as early as 1485, although access to the interior was barred by the inhospitable Namib desert. However, the harsh interior of Namibia aroused very little interest until the 1700s. The advent of European adventurers, explorers and traders from the mid-18th century onwards, entering from South Africa, had a disruptive impact on the existing patterns of organised society in Namibia. Recent historical research has revealed that the missionaries who entered Namibia as from the early 1800s were a major factor in preventing the founding of a unified state by the African inhabitants during the 19th century. The result of this penetration of Namibian society by the missionaries was a drastic change to the lives of Namibians, for from the 1860s onwards the missionaries were followed by white traders. An economic alliance was forged between the two expatriate groups which started to build up local demand for imported goods. (Dierks, Khauxa!nas - The Great Namibian Settlement, 1992).

Where inter-group conflict between Namibian communities arose, missionaries and traders tried to act as mediators between and advisors to the protagonists, often in the process exacerbating the original causes of strife through double-dealing or by supplying weapons to one side or the other. Both the British authorities in South Africa during the 1870s and the German colonial interests in Namibia during the 1880s were alike able to take advantage of these developments. As from 1878 (British annexation of Walvis Bay) and 1884 the formal colonisation of Namibia by the German Empire began.

The process of colonisation in Namibia was in its main features not dissimilar to the imposition of colonial rule elsewhere on the African continent. There were two distinct, but interlinked, phases. During the first phase relatively small numbers of explorers, fortune-seekers, missionaries, traders and mining prospectors arrived in the country. These were not regarded as much of a threat to their way of life by the African inhabitants. These Europeans seldom became assimilated into the existing pattern of society, while the missionaries actively began to change the inhabitants' way of life by introducing alien values and divided loyalties. The second phase was characterised by a reinforcement of the administrative and military powers of the colonial authority so as to defend the interests of the Europeans. The real threat to the Namibians then materialised as European settlers occupied their land, seizing their cattle and forcing them to become a source of cheap manual labour without any rights or bargaining power. The Namibians were caught in a situation where they had little choice but to alternately collaborate with and actively resist the colonial system of dispossession and exploitation. (Dierks, Khauxa!nas - The Great Namibian Settlement, 1992).

The outcome of the German colonial era was a divided, pluralistic society with a strong emphasis on separate cultural identities, and a relative integration of the inhabitants into a common economic system, whose foundation remained, however, profoundly dualistic between a property-owning settler minority and a largely property-less majority. This was coupled with political fragmentation of Namibia's indigenous communities and the political and economic domination of the colonising minority. Another resu lt was the development of a remarkable modern physical infrastructural system, especially on the telecommunications (see next section) and railway sectors. However, these infrastructures were not geared to promote the well-being of the indigenous Namibian s but were solely developed to foster the interest of the colonial society. This policy of group cultural separateness and fragmentation was to be expanded by the South Africans after 1915. For the indigenous inhabitants the change proved to be only from one colonial master to another, and it did not result in any improvement to their quality of life. (Dierks, Khauxa!nas - The Great Namibian Settlement, 1992).

According to the Peace Treaty of Versailles which formally ended the First World War, the Union of South Africa was entrusted with several duties and responsibilities in Namibia, including for instance, to "promote to the utmost the material and moral well-being and the social progress of the inhabitants of the territory". This "sacred trust of civilisation" was not honoured by South Africa, which pursued a deliberate policy of racial domination (Apartheid) and exploitation of the economic resources during its period of colonial control up to 1990.continued violation of the sacred trust resulted in the Namibian people's determination to continue their resistance against the South African new colonial authority. The resistance intensified after the Second World War and under the leadership of SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organisation). With the support of the United Nations and after a long liberation struggle of the Namibian people against the South Africans, the illegal occupation of the Apartheid Regime ended on 21 March 1990 when Namibia gained her freedom and independence. (Dierks, Khauxa!nas - The Great Namibian Settlement, 1992).The day of Independence resulted in the advent of a stable, peaceful multi-party democracy bas ed on the rule of law and a deregulated, strong free market economy.

In 1993 it was in acknowledgement of Namibia's success in constitutional, political and socio-economic development that President Bill Clinton of the United States honoured Namibia by inviting President Sam Nujoma, as the first African Head of State, to be received at the White House after the inauguration of the new Clinton administration.

Explaining the reasons for his invitation, President Clinton said that "it underscores my admiration for what Namibia has accomplished and my commitment to democracy in Africa and elsewhere. Her example inspires the cause of democracy and human rights throughout the continent"

"With its exemplary experience in recent years, Namibia is truly in a unique position to further the entire region's efforts towards democratisation, market economies, conflict resolution and political stability. And I might point out that Namibia's constitution also has in it a commitment to preserve the precious eco-system of that country, a real ground-breaking statement of environmental commitment that I again believe will be honoured throughout the continent and throughout the world."

2.3 The History Of Telecommunications In Namibia

Namibia is one of the last, vast wilderness areas in Africa with an extremely rich African fauna and flora. But she also possesses, compared to other African countries and seen in relation to the small population and the large size of the country, an exceptionally well developed but unbalanced physical infrastructure. The history of the Namibian Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication is a story of the creation and development of one of Namibia's biggest and most vital assets - its communications a nd transport infrastructures. Such infrastructures are a prerequisite to progress. The prosperity, welfare and socio-economic development of all inhabitants and the success of the country can be accurately measured in terms of the quality and quantity of the communication and transport links that will serve it. This comprehensiveness of the development of these systems is all the more remarkable since the long distances, the wide dispersal of the population, the lack of professional and other personnel an d the numerous natural obstacles make the construction and maintenance of communication and transport links an extremely expensive undertaking. (Dierks, Technical Aspects, 1992, p. 14)

The pace of progress cannot be overlooked - it was not achieved easily or cheaply. The problems and difficulties which the infrastructure creating Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication encountered were sometimes demoralising, often unique and al ways onerous. Namibia is a land of many faces: from inhospitable deserts and hard rocky outcrops to rugged mountains and undulating plains. Each of these presented different problems to the transport and communication engineers - some areas, barren and wa terless, while others offer - one of the biggest structural problems- no conventional building materials or industrial substances. (Dierks, Technical Aspects, 1992, p. 23)

Namibia's excellent but unbalanced telecommunications infrastructure must be seen in the mirror of her colonial heritage. Before Namibia's date of Independence in 1990 infrastructures like telecommunications were solely developed in the interest of the c olonial powers and not in the interest of the indigenous people of Namibia with the resulting imbalance between the "modern, first-world" sector and the impoverished "third world" sector of Namibia where the majority of Namibians lives.

telecommunication age commenced on 16 January 1899 when the German colonial administration contracted an agreement with the Eastern and South African Telegraph Company in London to participate in the sea cable from Mossamedes (Namibe in Angola) to Cape T own with a link to Swakopmund, the port town of "German South West Africa". Further telegraph stations followed in Karibib (9 August 1901), Okahandja (221902) and Windhoek (27 October 1902). Swakopmund was the first town to get a telephone netwo rk with 28 lines on 1 October 1901. Windhoek, Okahandja and Karibib followed until February 1902 (I.G. Deutschsprachiger Südwester, 1985, p. 477 and 478). The total trunk connection between Swakopmund and Windhoek was constructed between 1901 and 1906.

Military needs during the Namibian resistance wars against the German forces necessitated the construction of a 495 km telegraph line from Windhoek into the Namibian south via Rehoboth, Tsumis, Gibeon to Keetmanshoop. This system was modernised in 1911/1 912, after a telecommunication station at Keetmanshoop was inaugurated on 26 May 1906. This system was completed by a 364double railway telegraph line between Keetmanshoop and the southern port town of Lüderitz (completed 1907/08), with a branch line between Brakwater (south) and Chamis via Bethany (32 km: 1908). The total Namibian trunk system of 1km was interlinked at the end of 1907, with direct telephone services between Swakopmund, Windhoek, Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz. Further additions were telegraph lines between Windhoek and Gobabis in the east (252 km: 61905) and between Usakos and Otavi in the north (15 November 1906) as well as from Otavi to Grootfontein (91 km: 241908). A trunk route from Keetmanshoop via Warmbad and Karasburg with a link into the South African system at Ramansdrift was inaugurated in April 1910 (260 km). This trunk line which was extended to Cape Town in 1912 was the most expensive one so far. Between 1901 and 1907 a telegraph system of 3with 34 stations and 12 local telephone networks was completed. (I.G. Deutschsprachiger Südwester, 1985, p. 478 and 479).

Between 1908 and 1914 this system grew steadily with extensions to the diamond fields at Angras Juntas, Elizabeth Bay, Pomona and Bogenfels with local telephone networks in the last three settlements. It is not known whether the public telephones accepted diamonds for payment! Further extension were added in Otjiwarongo, Outjo, Otjitambi, Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Otjozondjupa (Waterberg), Okahandja, Windhoek, Kupferberg, Khan Station and Khan Mine, Keetmanshoop, Koës, Hasuur and Ukamas. Okaukuejo (1914 ) and Namutoni (1915), both situated in the Etosha Pan were reached shortly before the outbreak of the First World War.

The only missing links in the settler's colony were telecommunication lines to the lonely and far-off situated farms. The first "farm party lines" came into operation 1909 between Gibeon and Maltahöhe and between Okahandja and Ombirisu (1912), with a total of 32 farm telecommunication stations in 1913, with a cost participation by the individual farmers. Furthermore the first wireless telegraph links over a distance of 8km between Germany (Nauen) and Namibia (Windhoek) via Kamina (Togo) came into being in 1913. The first official communication via this link was Germany's declaration of war which initiated the First World War and ended Germany's occupation of Namibia in 1915 (I.G. Deutschsprachiger Südwester, 1985, p. 479 to 481). Namibia's telecommunication links during the German colonial times are pictured in the table in Appendix 4.

Initially the South African colonial era brought slow progress in the further development of Namibia's telecommunication system. Until 1926/27 no new projects were added. Only during 1927/28 it is reported that some new lines were laid and the trunk line between Windhoek and Keetmanshoop was renewed. 1929 Windhoek received its first automatic telephone exchange (Siemens). During 1931/32 trunk lines between Otjiwarongo and Otavi as well as Grootfontein and Tsumeb were extended. Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Usakos, Grootfontein, Keetmanshoop, Okahandja and Mariental received new telephone exchanges. Farm party lines were erected between Otjiwarongo and Erundu as well as Okaputa and Warlencourt while the farm line between Tsumeb to Dinaib was removed. At the end 1930s new farm lines were built to Hochfeld, Otjihavera, Osterode South and Klein Aubes East and West, furthermore between Aais to Pretorius, Outjo to Otjikondo, Tsumeb to Danairs Omeg, Kapp's Farm to Dordabis and Otjiwarongo to Tokai. Windhoek exchange received a new underground cable. The Second World War interrupted all further progress in telecommunications. (I.G. Deutschsprachiger Südwester, 1985, p. 482)December 1949 the Windhoek automatic exchange was expanded to 2lines. In 1950 the country possessed 62 exchanges with 1private and 2business lines, furthermore 134 public telephones and 451 farm party lines. During the late 1950s the demand for telecommunication services still remained insatiable, and 1new services and 820 supplementary service s were provided in 1957, whilst 1changes to existing services were effected. In this year the total number of hired services increased to 11and 423 km of trunk lines and 1km of farm lines were erected. (South West Africa: A Report for the Calendar Year 19 57 and the Activities of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, Windhoek, p.2 and 3).

In 1960 this system grew to 11 lines, with 2farm lines. During the early 1960s the direct telephone links were increased from 597 to 985 with a total distance of 202km. Between 1965 and 1975 the investments for telecommunication increased from US $ 20 mil lions to US75 millions. On 25 November 1972 Namibia's telecommunication's system was interlinked with the automatic system in South Africa and was later replenished by an analogue microwave system between Windhoek and Upington (South Africa) via Keetmanshoop. The exchanges grew from 99 to 467 with total costs of US $ 7,0 millions. Direct telecommunication links with 33 countries were possible as from 1980. During the 1980s telecommunication links with the Owambo regions in the north, with Opuwo (Kunene Region) and Katima Mulilo (Caprivi Region) were developed. In 1983 Namibia possessed for approximately 1,3 millions inhabitants living on more than the double surface of the united Germany 60telephone lines (14manually, 45automatically and 5farm lines). (I. G. Deutschsprachiger Südwester, 1985, p.and 483).

After a period of stagnation during the early eighties, 1986 saw the introduction of the first fully digital electronic exchange in Namibia. This was the combined trunk and local EWSD exchange installed at Telecom building in Windhoek. The exchange, commissioned on 21 June 1986, replaced an old two motion electromechanical exchange and increased the telephone service potential in Windhoek tenfold. Before Independence on 21 March 1990 Namibia had an integrated network of analog and electronic transmission mediums of approximately 1 970 005 km. However, the dominant technology for transmission links was based on analogue microwave channels from the North to the South interconnected with copper-based open-wire carrier routes to the eastern and western par ts of the country which now has to be extended and balanced to link the "two Namibias".

Figure 1 Namibia: Telecommunication Major Backbone System


3.1 Institutional Developments

There are four ideas within the field of institutional development which were identified after the Namibian Independence and which were realised.

3.1.1 First Idea: Commercialisation

The first idea concerns the need to consider what has to be done actually in the government administrations for transport and communications. A feature of the present arrangements in Namibia, and probably in several other countries in Africa as well, is that the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication is responsible for many different activities. The Ministry is not only responsible for policy formulation, regulatory affairs, monitoring, etc., but it is also involved in operational aspects on a significant scale. It is thus a producer of e.g. postal and telecommunications services, airport services, road maintenance, maintenance services of government buildings and maintenance services of vehicles and heavy plant used for construction activities. There is a world-wide trend away from such a way of running things, either through the creation of autonomous authorities through incorporation or through an outright sale of certain components to private investors. The purpose of these reforms is to separate out operational activities from the other - "normal" - functions of government. Indeed, the Namibian Government has already completed the commercialisation of the former Department of Posts and Telecommunications into Telecom Namibia Limited (see figure 2: Management Structure of Telecom Namibia) and Namibia Post Limited on 1 August 1992. Both state owned companies are profitable undertakings and are paying or - at least should pay - taxes as from 1994 onwards. This, of course, does not mean that the new telecom and postal corporations will neglect its social obligation to provide services to every community, but that a longer term financial strategy can be pursued which was not possible under the past Government budgeting system.

Today, nearly two years later, the fruits of this far-reaching decision are beginning to appear. Both, Telecom Namibia and Namibia Post have already concluded much of the preliminary spadework in the complex restructuring exercise. Serving the changing needs of all Namibian communities will ensure the steadily growing income for the two corporations, without any cross-subsidisation. Expansion plans can be kept on target and outdated equipment can be replaced on an ongoing basis. Telecom Namibia is on a sound, profitable track with new development capital works for approx. US $ 25 millions per annum for the next five years (details will follow later).

3.1.2 Second Idea: Cost-Effective Administration

But institutional reform does not just mean delegation and the separation of operational functions from other functions, such as policy making and regulation. There is a potential for changing the way things are done in respect of the "conventional& quot; government functions as well. This applies in particular to small countries like Namibia, which must at all points in time consider how to establish a cost-effective administration.

Institutional reform implies decentralisation. It does, however, not necessarily mean that the Government should completely give up its say. There are still problems to be concerned with, e.g. the suitable way of regulating "natural monopolies" such as ports, railways and telecommunications. This is a very important consideration, because it has to be ascertained that new regulatory instruments and arrangements are not counterproductive, but rather support the intention of institutional reforms.

3.1.3 Third Idea: Management Of Regulatory Controls

Assistance in the field of design and management of regulatory controls is the third idea under the heading Institutional Development. This is a "project concept" that could be expanded competition policy as well, although this is an area which is not a concern for communications alone. The understanding of the issues involved and of the proper approach to the formulation and implementation of a competition policy has to be developed.

3.1.4 Fourth Idea: Policy Formulation

A fourth idea regards policy formulation. The impression is evident that there is no other continent where communication issues are debated as intensively as in Africa, and with the advent of the "Regional African Satellite Communications Organisati on" (RASCOM) there is the wind of change also blowing in this regard. When the "integration package on the communication sectors" is designed and compiled, attention should be given to whether there is a need to supplement those activities that are already ongoing in this area to make sure that all reasonable efforts are being made to develop Africa into the Continent of the United Nations of Africa.

3.2 Assessment Of The New Policy Concept For Telecom Namibia

The realisation of the "First Idea: Commercialisation of Telecom Services in Namibia" will be dealt with in more detail in order to assess our first experiences and the actors and variables that play an important role in this process. It is interesting to note that the major players in this important policy decision were not different interest groups in Namibia like business pressure groups, the trade unions or any international institutions and investors but it was rather a principal decision b y the first independent Government of Namibia to optimise the scarce national resources after a long history of colonial oppression and exploitation in order to initiate national development, eradicate poverty and create a new "post-Apartheid Namibia " by bridging the "first world" and the "third world" Namibias.

3.2.1 Background

In line with the Government of Namibia´s declared policy to embark on a new economic approach by deregulating certain functions of the state and opening up the markets to encourage international exposure and competition, the Communications Division under the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication was divided into four separate entities on 1 August 1992.

The four entities are as follows:

- The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication remained in the government fold and is - inter alia - accountable for the national policy of the postal and telecommunications sector, the appointment and removal of the Board of Directors, monitoring the Performance Contract, and annual reporting to the Namibian Parliament on the affairs of the Corporations.
- The Namibia "Communications Commission", an independent body responsible for frequency management, the issuing of licenses and other regulatory functions.
- Telecom Namibia Limited, the officially designated telecom company responsible for providing and maintaining the telecommunications infrastructure and services.
- Namibia Post Limited responsible for postal and savings bank services.
Telecom Namibia Ltd. and Namibia Post Ltd., incorporated under the Posts and Telecommunications Act, 1992, are both subsidiaries of the parent company, the Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings Limited, and are operating under the laws and regulations pertaining to a company registered in terms of the Namibian Companies Act. The accountability for the corporation's financial matters is resting with the Management and its Board of Directors.

Telecom Namibia's first two years of existence marked yet another enormous challenge to the young Republic of Namibia. It was a year in which it was witnessed to experience the ambitious and dramatic separation and managerial restructuring of the country 's postal an telecommunications services. During this period of dynamic change, new and exciting opportunities came up and together with it also increased responsibilities to respond faster to customer needs. The demand for the modernisation of data communication services remained a burden throughout the year.

3.2.2 The Financial Period

This first Financial Report of Telecom Namibia Ltd. covered the period from the day when the Company was incorporated on the 1 August 1992 to 30 September 1993. Thus, the first financial year of operation comprised 14 months. The financial year of Telecom Namibia runs normally from 1to 30 September.

3.2.3 Progress Report

During the first two years after the commercialisation of Telecom Namibia, the following major achievements formed part of the highlights of this period:

- A full Board of Directors for the Holdings Company was appointed and functioned successfully in addressing policy issues and the facilitation of financial transactions between the two subsidiary companies;
- A selection process for the appointment of members of the Board of Directors for the subsidiary companies was conducted and completed;
- The legal transfer of fixed properties from the Government to the companies was completed;
- A Performance Contract - taking especially the social problems and past historic unbalances into consideration - between the Namibian Government and Telecom Namibia was negotiated;
- The revised top management structure was finalised and implemented by the end of October 1993;
- All vacant positions at top management level were filled;
- An in-depth review into the conditions of service of persons transferred from the previous government dispensation to Telecom Namibia Ltd. was conducted and completed in the course of the first financial year of the Company;
- A steering committee was appointed by the Management of Telecom Namibia to formulate an "Affirmative Action" policy.
- Considerable planning went into the formulation of the Business Plan of the Company which emphasised a massive culture shift from the old colonial approach before the Independence of the Republic of Namibia
3.2.4 Company Performance: Telecom Namibia

Telecom Namibia's performance during the first three years was characterised by numerous positive developments and excellent financial growth. The Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet for 1994/95 indicated that the Company, to a very large extent, is dependent on its telephone operations. Out of the total revenues of N$ 225 million, 95% can be attributed to the telephone services.

The income before interest and taxes is N$ 63,6 million, or a profit margin of 28%. This gives Telecom Namibia a strong and healthy position for expanding its business.

Total assets amount to N$ 306 million. Of this total, the liquid assets represent 51%, which is a high figure. On the other hand, the fixed assets amount to 42%, which is a low figure in the telecom sector.

On the costs side, labour costs run up to 46% of the total costs. Costs for international accounting is also a large cost component (15%), mainly due to the present country's dependency on routing all its international traffic through South Africa.

The depreciation for 1992/93 was less than 10% of the revenues. This increased very rapidly due to the large investment program and was N$ 30,931 million in 1995.

A long term investment program has been developed and it is anticipated that investment will amount to approximately N$ 150 million per annum.

Long-term loans have been taken only from the parent company, Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings (NPTH). The NPTH loan amounted to N$ 63 million at an interest rate of 12%. This loan was converted to equity in 1995.

The total equity, comprising of shareholder's equity and retained earnings, amounts to N$ 215 million. The Return on Equity, defined as net income divided by total equity, is 37%, which is twice as high as the shareholders' expectancy.

3.2.5 The Structural Changes Of Telecom Namibia

At its inception, Telecom Namibia inherited a basic (governmental) management structure with a fundamentally weak regional representation. There was a strong traditional focus on technology and the management style was geared towards the perpetuation of the pre-Independence-status-quo. A fresh approach was adopted to focus more on customer care and market-related as well as social issues were instituted in the Company, decentralising the business into flexible units, with greater and almost autonomous decision-making powers in certain matters, in order to improve management and enhance service quality. This strategic and crucial step was taken to achieve the Company's firmly established goal - to become a truly customer oriented service enterprise committed to providing practical and affordable solutions to the telecommunications needs of every customer.

The transformation process preceded very smoothly and the Company continued to be an integral part of the Namibian business community. With the ambitious approach of its new and dedicated Management, the Company proved to be capable of producing significant, sustainable, long-term profits and to serve its stakeholders, namely its customers, shareholders, employees and suppliers.

3.2 6 New Regional Structure

The national operations were divided into four regions, covering the Namibian geographical areas of the North, Central, South and Windhoek City. Each region is headed by a Regional General Manager reporting directly to the Managing Director. The regional structures are based on three components:

- Commercial;
- Customer Service and Support including Installations;
- Construction, including local cable networks, farm lines, local trunks, radio systems, etc.
3.2.7 New Centralised Structure

The Centralised Structure was also re-designed and two separate divisions were additionally established, namely Buildings & Real Estate and Public Relations.

The Centralised Structure comprises of the following divisions:

- Business & Network Development
- Financial Division
- Internal Audit
- Support Services
- Human Resources Administration and Development
- A Buildings and Real Estate Division was established within the subsidiary company: Telecom Namibia, to cater for all the properties of the parent company: Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings.
- A Public Relations Division responsible for internal and external liaison and communications, including corporate strategy and communications, was established.
For the two past years management criteria, objectives and strategies for Telecom Namibia were stressed. Today it can be stated without any doubt that all indicators reflect the significant progress that Telecom Namibia has made during its transformation.

There is still much to be done and the process of change will be continue! The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication of the Republic of Namibia relies on the potential of Telecom Namibia´s personnel who played an important role in the attainment of the targets which were set by the Government.

3.3 The Present Prospects For Telecom Namibia

3.3.1 Namibian Telecommunication Market Telephone Services

The Namibian telecommunication market is, compared to African standards, a well developed market. The number of telephone lines are approximately 5/100 inhabitants which is more than 5 times the average of the African continent. The demand for service is presently higher than the supply. The usage per line is also high on average US $ 60/line and month for automatic service.

In the rural parts of the country, outside the main cities and villages, telecommunication facilities are poor and the services provided don't meet up to normal standards. Many customers in these areas are connected to farm party lines and usage of the f ull service is normally not possible. The major part of the rural areas, including minor towns and villages, are still served by manual exchanges.

The average growth for automatic exchanges over the past 12 years has been 6% per year in new services. The total demand for telecommunication services can be estimated to 120telephone lines for the next 5However, the estimated growth will be 10% per yea r, bringing the average number of telephone lines to 8/100 inhabitants, which will be the same as in South Africa at present.

Telecom Namibia Limited covers approximately 98% of the market for telephone services. Competition for local traffic comes only from one other operator, namely the "Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM)" in Oranjemund. For international traffic the only competition is presently "Hubbing" via South Africa. However, in April 1995 competition came from a local operator of cellular telephony. More competition will come in the future in line with government policy which is based on competition and deregulation. For instance, banks will set up their own satellite communication links primarily for data communication, but experience from both Europe and USA shows that these facilities also will be used for voice communication. Data Communications

The market for data communications is looking for higher speed and more reliable services. The present service provided represents leased analog lines and a x-25 packet switched network. Today the major banks are asking for digital 64 kilobit services. I f such a service would be available the demand would also be there for high speed transmission facilities in the City of Windhoek which would also be used by insurance companies and the major private industry.

The competition on the market comes mainly from the potential customers themselves who will establish their own data communication networks (i.e. the Municipality of Windhoek, the breweries etc.), firstly at their own premises but later extended and conn ected to other sites, both domestic and internationally. It is expected that Telecom Namibia's share of the market will not exceed 70% including leased lines. The total turnover is approximately US $ 3 millions per year thus representing a relatively smal l market for Telecom Namibia. It is, however, essential to be present on the market, also to protect the more viable telephony market especially for the business customers.

The supply of modems for DATA and TELNET services on the customer premises is totally left to the private suppliers. Telecom Namibia only supplies the modems on the exchange side but this is not regarded as "Customers Premises Equipment (CPE)". On the DATA and TELNET side Telecom Namibia supplies only baseband modems to the customers, on a rental base. Telecom Namibia's share, however, is still around 40%.

Furthermore, the private suppliers only sell modems and give some back-up service. With the current economic constraints customers start to prefer rental of modems and maintenance contracts. Also due to these constraints and stiff competition, suppliers offer cheap modems to their customers. There is thus a market to enter by offering a specialised end-to-end modem service on a rental base. Telecom Namibia's DATA customer growth is above 10% per annum and that of TELNET is above 20%. Customer Premises Equipment Residential Telephone Services

Whenever a customer requests the services of a single telephone line, Telecom Namibia will supply the line connection and sell an telephone instrument. The instruments are sold by various private shops in town and Telecom Namibia (Pty) Ltd. Customers hav e a wide choice between various types of instruments. Business Customers

The provision of PABX's to business customers is open to free market competition and Telecom Namibia is actively competing in this market. Telecom Namibia is offering the following range products: DPS 2/4, DPS 5/10, BTS BTS 24, BTS 128. The DPS equipment is classified as "keyswitch" equipment and the BTS equipment as PABX equipment. Additionally, Telecom Namibia maintains various PABX's and EPABX's from Siemens, STC, Philips and Plessey that were supplied to Namibian ministries in the past via open tenders and systems that were maintained by Telecom Namibia before suppliers were allowed to maintain their own equipment.

Customers utilising Telecom Namibia's equipment and services may rent or buy the equipment. They have a choice of purchase or lease. Telecom Namibia also maintains the rented equipment free of charge because maintenance is included in the rental. This is in sharp contrast to how the other suppliers operate. They offer purchases, rental and lease contracts and then various types of maintenance contracts. Some of these contracts are up to ten years. Telecom Namibia allows these suppliers to connect their own telephone instruments as extensions onto their PABX's. These suppliers are also allowed to be responsible for the maintenance of the in-house cable network, after Telecom Namibia's approval. At the moment there are five other licensed competitors in the market for providing PABX's.

The main competitor is Siemens, but only in the Windhoek and Swakopmund area. Siemens is the only competitor that has more than three people employed to maintain their systems. Telecom Namibia is the only PABX supplier that can offer an effective maintenance service in rural areas because of the availability of technicians in these areas and the dial-in facilities Telecom Namibia has on her system to do remote maintenance and fault finding.

The main PABX market in Namibia is in the area of 2 to 5 exchange lines connecting 5 to 15 extensions. The availability of detailed call-accounting and call-barring is the main selling feature on PABX's. Due to economic constraints business managers more and more want to control their phone costs. In this regard the DPS is not a suitable system because it cannot do call-barring and costing on individual calls. It is in this area where in particular Siemens has an edge on Telecom Namibia's small range of equipment and Telecom Namibia introduced BTS 70 and BTS 224 systems.

With six licensed competitors already in the market and two other suppliers (Ericsson and Chercor) that indicated their interest to enter the market, the market in Windhoek is very tight and competitive. In the rural areas the competition is not so tight and Telecom Namibia has the virtual monopoly. Due to the current economic decline and the resulting cash flow problems business started to experience, the selling of new systems is difficult and customers start to prefer rental agreements.
In summary, besides the call charges that these custom ers generate an annual income of US $ 4 millions and higher can be collected by staying in the PABX market. Telex Services

The demand for telex services is going backwards and is of no interest to other business enterprises. However, there is a small demand by customers to let their telex services work into a PC via a PC-Telex converter. Telecom Namibia has 100% of the CPE market on the Telex service side.

At the moment (February 1996) there are 315 telex users renting T1000 and 90 users renting T1200 machines.


4.1 Mission Of Telecom Namibia Limited

Telecom Namibia Limited is dedicated to provide the most effective telecommunication service to it's customers at competitive rates while fulfilling it's social responsibility to overcome the historical imbalances of the past: with an emphasis on integrity, customer satisfaction, accountability, safety and productivity.

4.1.1 Objectives

4.1.2 Short Term Telecom Policies
- Raise the level of customer service and support:
- Fault cleared within 48 hours
- New services and alterations delivered within 15 days;
- Establish effective communication channels with customers and honour all commitments to 100%;
- Follow up all repairs, installations, alterations etc. within three days by personal telephone calls to customer;
- 98% availability for national and international telephone services;
- Start the process to market-related international prices and adjust national prices according to costs;
- Customised service agreements for business customers;
- The policy of rental CPE-equipment should be changed to purchase or lease agreements;
- No exposure to foreign currency loans.
4.1.3 Long Term Telecom Policies
- Market related price structures within four years;
- Annual growth of 10% for the next three years;
- Automatic telephone services for all customers within four years;
- International gateway within two years (done in 1995);
- Improve productivity with 25% within three years;
- Identification and development of management staff;
- Raise the level of competence to minimum 10th grade in Telecom Namibia within five years.
4.2 Financial Targets For Telecom Namibia Limited
- Average return on total capital: 20%;
- 50% Self-financing of investments;
- Gross margin before depreciation and financial costs: 35%.
4.3 New Telecom Services

4.3.1 Services: 1994 - 1996

- Establish modern centres and account managers for major customers;
- Establish high speed data communication services;
- The introduction of detailed billing is seen as vital and should be started as soon as possible;
- Introduction of "Toll Free and Feature Services". The feasibility of these services must, however, firstly be determined (to be introduced in 1996);
- The introduction of a "Televoting" system (to be introduced in 1996/97);
- Access to world-wide "Videotext" (Beltel/Minitel) services, via the telephone or x25 packet switching networks, should be negotiated to generate additional traffic;
- Complete range of small PBX;
- Service concept for business customers (to be introduced in in 1996);
- Value added telephony services like "follow me";
- Automatic services in Katima Mulilo (Caprivi Region), Rundu (Okavango Region), Noordoewer;
- Automatic services in the Owambo regions of Omusati, Oshana and Ohangwena linking 22 towns, villages and community centres (1st phase: completed in January 1994, 2nd phase completed in May 1995);
- Windhoek's copper network was changed to optic-fibre by the end of 1995;
- Digital exchanges for the whole Windhoek Region by the end of 1994;
- International gateway via Intelsat completed in 1995 (first stage completed early in 1994).
- Automatic services for Outjo, Maltahöhe, Arandis, Karibib, Usakos and Omaruru.
4.3.2 Services: 1996 - 2000
- High speed data communication services in the whole country Atlantic coast served in December 1995);
- Automatic services for 100% of the customers including all magneto-exchanges and farm party lines (89% in 1995);
- Cellular service introduced during 1995;
- Automatic services in the Owambo regions of Oshikoto, Omusati, Oshana and Ohangwena linking further 23 towns, villages and community centres with a link to Opuwo (Kunene Region)(3rd phase: linking another 20 villages in the Kaokoveld);
- Change over to digital transmission country-wide.
4.4 Namibia's Role As A Transit Country

Namibia is playing a key role as "transit country" to link land-locked countries in southern Africa to the outside world. This is not only advantageous for Namibia but also for Namibia's neighbours. The following telecommunication links are und er construction:

  1. The Trans Caprivi Communication connection would link Namibia with Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This project involves the upgrading of the existing terrestrial telephone line between Grootfontein and Katima Mulilo via Rundu through the Caprivi Region an d the connections to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe (optical fibre and micro wave connections). The fibre connection between Grootfontein and Rundu was completed in December 1995.
  1. The Trans-Kalahari Communication connection linking Namibia with Botswana, but also providing better access between Namibia and Zimbabwe. This optical fibre system would link Windhoek with Ghanzi in Botswana via Gobabis and would provide direct access into the "Pan African Telecommunication System" (PANAFTEL).
  1. The Namibia-Angola Communication connection would link the communication system in the Owambo regions with Lubango in Angola via a optical fibre system.
4.5 Price And Tariff Structure For Telecom Namibia

4.5.1 Developments

- The international market for telephone services is a highly competitive market. Telecom Namibia's tariffs for international calls are very high compared to international market prices, up to twice the international prices;
- Prices for local calls don't cover costs, while prices for national trunk calls are high;
- The rental prices for both telephone services and PBX seem not to cover costs;
- Telecom Namibia's international tariffs are decreasing and for UK, USA, central Europe and Unisurce, considered as direct traffic, the rate is now about US $ 1,5.
4.5.2 Short Term Activities
- Rental charges have to be adjusted according to increase in costs;
- International tariffs were decreased in relation to lower accounting rates;
- National trunk calls were decreased for the longer distances;
- International operators calls were increased to the same level as automatic calls;
- Installation charges to be increased.
4.5.3 Long Term Activities
- Cost-related prices calls: local, national and regional;
- Cost related prices for installations and alterations;
- Market-related prices for international calls;
- Customised solutions with market-related prices for business customers.

Namibia is as far as the telecommunication sector is concerned technically one of the most developed countries in Africa. It is the first priority for the Government to maintain and upgrade the telecommunication systems in an optimised way. For historical reasons physical infrastructures were always unbalanced to the disadvantage of indigenous Namibians. This imbalance was consequently addressed after the Namibian Independence on 211990 and visible change has taken place since then.

The technical progress has to be supplemented by institutional reform. A process of commercialising the former Department of Posts and Telecommunications within the framework of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication was initiated after Independence and completed in August 1992. Telecom Namibia is one of the success stories of the country and has made great strides towards an efficient and modern telecommunications network without any cross-subsidisation and without failing to fulfill the social commitments which are a heritage of the colonial era.

Africa's efforts should aim towards a unified approach as far as the economical strengthening of the African Continent is concerned, with the ultimate goal of the United Nations of Africa". If Africa's decision makers play their cards correctly the currently marginalised Continent of Africa and especially the regions of Southern Africa will be one of the best regions on earth. There is thus less justification for Afro-pessimism today than there was in the 1980s. In the wake of recent fundamental political changes, a wind of change has generated processes in almost every African country, making possible new pluralistic, political as well as economic and institutional structures on the basis of which African governments will be subject to controls and balances in the future.


Appendix 1.1 Introduction

The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication of the Republic of Namibia, in so far as it concerns the physical infrastructure of the country, subscribes to the following policy guidelines in order of priority:

- The continued optimised maintenance and rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure to prevent deterioration and later costly rehabilitation.
- The further development of the infrastructure in the northern areas with emphasis on former neglected areas such as the Owambo, the Okavango, the Caprivi, the Otjozondjupa, the Omaheke and the Kunene regions.
- The improvement of communication links with neighbours such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Angola.
The purpose of including the latter in the Ministry's policy guidelines is inter alia to generally strengthen the already close ties with Sub-Saharan Africa and to exploit the tremendous opportunity of normalising trading relations which has materialised with the Independence of Namibia on 21 March 1990.

Appendix 1.2 Telecommunications

Appendix 1.2.1 Performance And Progress Of Sector

The expansion of telecommunication services during the 1986 - 1995 period is shown in the next table. In some areas relief was provided, but due to a lack of funds it was not possible to serve all areas as yet. Expansion of the telephone services in the capital was enhanced by Digital Line Units in all the suburbs. At Windhoek's Olympia, Pioneerspark, Wanaheda and Industrial exchanges, units were placed in the existing building and at Windhoek-Khomasdal a new building was erected. Supplementary units will be installed at these locations during the subsequent years to keep up with demand. At present 28 units are installed at these locations.

It was however not only in the capital that extensions to the automatic switching network were made, but also in the smaller towns in Namibia. Starting in the south, extensions were done at Lüderitz to provide for the expansion of the CDM (Consolidated Diamond Mines) mining activities at Elizabeth Bay and the reactivated fishing industry.

The Keetmanshoop trunk exchange was replaced to cope with the higher traffic flow and to provide more terminating circuits for the enlarged microwave system that was installed. Keetmanshoop is also a very important station in the telecommunication link t o South Africa, at present Namibia's only access to the outside world. Local exchange extension were provided between 1992 and 1995.

One of the major milestones to the 1980's was the automation of the Rehoboth exchange. Due to the lack of capital funds this was the only exchange area to be automated during the decade. The cost of this delay in implementing a specific automation policy will be felt during the coming years as the spare parts to maintain the outdated manual system are becoming increasingly scarce and only obtainable at exorbitant prices. The new Rehoboth exchange with a subscriber capacity of 3was commissioned during 198 9 with a subscriber count of nearly 1 Since then the number of subscribers has grown to 1

The Rehoboth exchange is linked to the trunk network via a digital microwave system. This was the first digital microwave system in the country, but will shortly be joined by others as all future transmission systems will be digital. This 34 system provides sufficient capacity to serve all potential subscribers in the Rehoboth area.

At Swakopmund the demand for services kept on increasing as Rössing Mine expanded and the old electromechanical exchange had to be augmented with a containerised electronic exchange at Vineta. This exchange provided for 2subscribers and was replaced in 1995 together with the new west coast link that provided automatic switching at Arandis and Henties Bay. The expansion of the Rössing Mine and the proposed training facilities make the automation of the exchange at Arandis a priority.

At Okahandja the trunk exchange was replaced. To serve the surrounding towns directly all traffic was automated and switched to Windhoek. To lighten the load of the Windhoek exchange which had to handle an enormous increase in international traffic, a se parate International Switched was installed in 1995.following table will picture the expansion of Namibian telecommuncation services between 1986 and 1995:

Table 1: Expansion Of Telecommunication Services 1986 - 1995


Automatic telephone lines

28 104
30 617
32 810
34 832
37 186
40 600
44 412
47 938
62 816
69 334

Automatic telephone instruments

49 410
53 009
56 391
60 262
64 739
68 538
72 417
77 718

Manual telephone lines

13 466
14 249
13 383
13 937
13 482
13 681
12 527
13 036
6 949
3 704

Farm line services

5 891
6 070
6 135
6 235
6 385
6 359
6 310
6 415
6 421
6 397

Telex services

1 036

Packet network subscribers

In service : 88-07-18

Radio license holders

9 648
9 755
10 491
11 289
12 244
12 193

Source: Telecom Namibia, 1995

On 1 November 1991 the automation project of Oshakati, Ondangwa and Oshivelo was put into service. This provided the first automatic services to the previously neglected northern areas. The Oshakati exchange could serve 1subscribers and also provided ser vices to Ongwediva. A digital line unit with a capacity of 808 subscribers served Ondangwa and Oshivelo, a small digital exchange. Subsequently they were enlarged to 3364 at Oshakati, 1654 at Ondangwa and Ongwediva was added.

The whole switching infrastructure in the north is linked to Tsumeb via an optical fibre transmission system operating at 1300 nano metres at 140 Mbit/second. This provides ample capacity which is now utilised to carry TV signals for transmitting at Oshakati. The new digital links in the rest of the country are run at 1550 nano metres at 155 Mbit/second as for instance the new west coast digital link.

The packet network is a service that was introduced to fulfill the requirements of the business community that need constant computer interaction between their branches and head office at a reasonable cost. By utilising the packet switched network they are sharing the same channels between all users on a time share basis.

In addition to these automation projects in the country, extensions were also done at the following manual exchanges and more transmission channels were provided as listed in Table 2.

The provision of services also showed a steady growth, in all, but the telex network. Since the 1980s enormous inroads were made by the more convenient facsimile machines that came onto the market. These could be bought by the users themselves who unlike the former Department of Posts and Telecommunications were not hampered by the same lack of funds to buy basic equipment.

As the number of services rendered has increased, so has the income generated by them. The point was reached in 1987 where the income exceeded the expenditure by a comfortable margin (See Table 3). The figures reflected below were not fully representative of the situation, as a variety of services were performed by other departments on behalf of the former Department of Posts and Telecommunications. The cost of these services were not obtainable, but estimates showed that the Department would still show an excess of income over expenditure even if it was fully accounted for.

Appendix 1.2.2 Prospects And Constraints Facing The Sector

The most important task which was fulfilled in 1992 was the successful transformation of the former Department of Posts and Telecommunications of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication into two state-owned corporations. Without this very important step, which is in line with the organisational structure that is used in most other countries in the region, this sector would not be able to fulfill its role in the building of a strong Namibia.

The most important constraint in the world-wide telecommunications field is the lack of suitably qualified personnel. In Namibia this situation is exacerbated by the fact that many of the young people are pursuing an academic education but do not take ma thematics and science. Without these vital subjects a career in electronics cannot be pursued successfully.

Electronic technicians are an extremely sought after group and will have to be offered special incentives to retain their services. Excellence in training as well as the constant retraining of personnel will have to be high priorities to meet the challenges of a changing communications environment.

The expansion of the Technical Training School will have to receive urgent attention as the present facilities are totally inadequate to meet the needs. It is housed in an old light industrial building that was refurbished at the beginning of the 1980's. To adequately serve the training needs, more classrooms, practical training areas and especially lecturers are required. These facilities cannot be provided at the present location and this will mean a move to new accommodation. The appointment of suitable lecturers, as part of a Dutch initiated aid program, has been proved a success.

During the next couple of years the manually operated telephone network will have to be replaced by an electronic switching network. This is a requirement that can no longer be ignored, as the old switchboards cannot be maintained much longer and the required spare parts are becoming impossible to obtain. A specific replacement program will be one of the main items of any strategic plan.

The following table shows the extension of manual exchanges between 1986 and 1992:

Table 2 Extension Of Manual Exchanges: 1986 - 1992




| Arandis | 100 lines | 3 channels | 1989 |


| Aranos | 100 lines | | 1987 |


| Aroab | 100 lines | 12 channels | 1987 |


| Dordabis | 50 lines | | 1990 |


| Gibeon | 100 lines | 10 channels | 1991 |


| Henties Bay | 200 lines | | 1989 |


| Karibib | 140 lines | | 1988 |


| Katima Mulilo | 500 lines | 12 channels | 1988 |


| Khorixas | 100 lines | | 1991 |


| Klein Aub | 100 lines | | 1986 |


| Koës | 100 lines | | 1989 |


| Noordoewer | 100 lines | | 1992 |


| Okakara | 100 lines | | 1990 |


| Omaruru | 100 lines | | 1986 |


| Okahao | 70 lines | | 1992 |


| Opuuo | 100 lines | 3 channels | 1987 |


| Oshakati | 400 lines | 18 channels | 1988 |


| Rosh Pinah | 100 lines | | 1986 |


| Rundu | 200 lines | | 1987 |


| Uis | 100 lines | | 1988 |


| Witvlei | 20 lines | | 1988 |


Source: Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, Windhoek, 1992

The following table shows the revenue and expenditure of the former Department of Posts and Telecommunication between 1985 and 1992, shortly before the incorporation into Telecom Namibia Ltd and Namibia Post Ltd:

Table 3 Revenue And Expenditure In N$: 1985 - 1992





| 1985 - 1986 | 47 616 872 | 18 925 609 | 66 542 481 | 59 920 229|


| 1986 - 1987 | 55 243 329 | 11 088 803 | 66 332 132 | 74 229 838|


| 1987 - 1988 | 63 230 041 | 14 135 948 | 77 365 989 | 89 391 697|


| 1988 - 1989 | 66 670 611 | 11 051 024 | 77 721 635 |109 939 006|


| 1989 - 1990 | 90 350 545 | 9 932 082 |100 282 627 |141 290 049|


| 1990 - 1991 | 90 422 347 | 14 622 485 |105 044 832 |154 999 250|


| 1991 - 1992 |104 294 278 | 17 631 481 |121 925 759 |167 360 988|


SOURCE: Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, Windhoek, 1992

NOTA: 1 US $ is approximately 3,8 N$ (Namibian Dollar)(1996)

The following table gives a list of suppliers of PABX's equipment and their market shares compared to that of Telecom Namibia Limited:

Table 4 Suppliers Of PABX Equipment In Comparison To Telecom Namibia


TN - DPS's

1 500
1 582
1 771
4 750
5 035
9 010
9 551


2 381
2 486
12 082
12 552


1 343
1 607
6 438


2 129
2 281




2 048
1 711


1 541
1 994





2 260


  1. 2 441


  1. 2 359


  1. 9 979


  1. 10 813


  1. 33 460


  1. 35 968



  1. SOURCE: Telecom Namibia Limited, Windhoek, 1996

A study to prepare a master plan for implementation after the incorporation of the Department of Posts and Telecommunication was another important requirement to be initiated. This is a project that can best be undertaken by a consultant who has experience of other telecommunication organisations which have already been operating as parastatals for a number of years.

In order to supply the required services, the present planning estimates a capital requirement of more than N$ 200 million to expand the network over the next four years. This only makes provision for three existing manual exchanges to be replaced by dig ital concentrators. A much more aggressive replacement strategy will have to be pursued if a collapse of the rural services is to be averted. This cannot however, be done at the expense of denying services to areas neglected in the past.

The major expansion drive is now to the north east of Namibia. Rundu exchange will be automated next and hereafter Katima Mulilo will receive attention. The required transmission system to make this automation feasible is however a major financial obstacle which will require foreign assistance. The 500 km route along the Trans-Caprivi-Highway is sparsely populated and few services can be provided along the line to make it financially more viable.

Other areas of concern hampering the economic development of certain areas are Noordoewer in the south where a major fresh product producer is situated at an important border control point permitting entry to South Africa and at Arandis near Swakopmund a t the west coast. Arandis is to be developed as a free trade area benefiting from under utilised infrastructure to provide cheap value adding developments of various kinds of merchandise. The telecommunications infrastructure at these and other centres is, however, outdated. This must be seen as a constraint that needs to be rectified.

Appendix 1.2.3 Major Sector Objectives

is fortunate in having a relatively high telephone density within its major centres. The rural area in the north is, however, very poorly served and has a telephone penetration of less than 0,3 telephones per 100 people. To achieve this goal a major expansion of the telephone system in the Owambo regions will have to be undertaken. The existing infrastructure that has been built up over the past few years provides a base for the expansion to 23 villages and community centres initially with multi-access of the network. A project to supply services to rural radio and small decentralised exchanges at the larger growth points is planned for 1992 - 1994. The following 23 centres will be included into this first phase: Anamulenge, Eenhana, Elim, Endola, Engela , Engolo, Nakayale, Odibo, Ogongo, Ohangwena, Okahao, Okalongo, Okatope, Ombalantu, Ondobe, Onesi, Ongenga, Ongha, Onunu, Oshigambo, Oshikango, Oshikuku and Tsandi. (ALCATEL-SEL System: RURTEL: All antenna masts (approx. 40 masts), equipment and power con nections were completed on 15.09.1993, the training was completed by the end of October 1993, the whole system was commissioned on 01.02.1994 for 640 subscribers initially. The system has to be expanded as from 1995/96.)

To become independent as far as international communications are concerned, an international gateway exchange is a necessity. This can be accommodated in existing premises within the Telecom Building in Windhoek which is presently being upgraded. An Intelsat satellite earth station will be erected to link Namibia with the main trading partners in Europe as well as in Africa. The satellite earth station will be erected just south of Windhoek. Provision can also be made for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to use the site and station for the transmission of television programs, including educational material as an aid to schools in the more remote rural areas. Feasibility studies proved the suitability of the site.

Linking into the PANAFTEL network is another major objective that can be realised by building a microwave link to Botswana along the Trans-Kalahari-Highway. This system can be better utilised by the addition of spur links to the towns and villages along the route. The first priority was a link to Windhoek International Airport, as the old system could not be expanded to cope with the increased requirements of an international port of entry. The repeater station to achieve this has been completed and the exchange equipment is installed.

Omitara exchange is at present serving a vast area to the north of the settlement up to Otjinene. This whole area can then be provided with modern telecommunication services. Further along the line, Witvlei and Gobabis can be connected, as well as the communities close to the Botswana border. Close collaboration with the Botswana authorities will also make it possible to serve the Otjiva community with this system.

The basic North-South transmission backbone has to be extended to serve the Okavango Region in the north and Lüderitz in the south. These two transmission projects will be undertaken as part of the Master Development Plan for Namibia. The first phase, namely the expansion of the microwave backbone from Tsumeb to Grootfontein was completed during 1992/93. With the limited funds made available the optic fibre cable route to Rundu also started. This is a highly labour intensive project, as trenching from Rundu to Grootfontein will be carried out manually by labourers, recruited locally.



(1 US Dollar is approximately 3,8 Namibian Dollar (March 1996))


N$ 2 877 000 + N$ 55 000 TOTAL N$ 2 932 000

During the previous budget cycle the first automatic exchange in the previously neglected northern area was the major project. The automation of the Oshakati, Ondangwa and Oshivelo exchanges on 11991 was a historic occasion emphasising the Government's commitment to building up the formerly neglected outlying areas of Namibia.

During 1994/95 this emphasis on the north will continue with the automation of Rundu as the next goal. Due to monetary constraints only the first phase of the transmission system was completed during 1992/1993. The automation of the exchange will take pl ace during the next two years.


N$ 4 582 000 + N$ 106 000 + N$ 2 102 000 TOTAL N$ 6 790 000

A microwave system between Tsumeb and Grootfontein will be supplied at a total cost of N$ 4,661 million. The extension to Rundu will be accomplished by providing a fibre optic cable. Manual labour will be utilised for the trenching and laying of the cable next to the Grootfontein - Rundu main road. Two construction gangs will work from either sides to expedite completion.


N$ 2 200 000 TOTAL N$ 2 200 000

Analogue carriers equipment, to use the open wire routes optimally, will be installed between various exchanges, especially in the Kunene Region.


79 000 TOTAL N$ 79 000

Automation of the Rundu exchange will be by means of two x 1000 subscriber digital line units working off the Tsumeb exchange where a new trunk exchange was installed as part of the Oshakati automation project. The Tsumeb local exchange is also being rep laced with an electronic unit. The Tsumeb electromechanical equipment is now being re-used to enlarge the capacity of the Otjiwarongo, Keetmanshoop and Mariental exchanges. This action enabled the Department of Posts and Telecommunications to provide a be tter service to the Outjo, Khorixas and Opuuo areas where congestion was a problem.


N$ 985 000 TOTAL N$ 985 000

With grant aid from Germany and Sweden the expansion of telecommunication services to 23 villages in the area north of Oshakati and Ondangwa as well as the western villages of Uukwaluudhi and Tsandi was continued. A multi access rural radio system (RURTE L) will be employed to provide these services.

Repeater towers will be erected in these villages during the coming months. The expansion of the local cable distribution network are already in progress in preparation for the installation of these services.


N$ 200 000 TOTAL N$ 200 000

The major expansion of the cable network in Oshakati, Ongwediva and Ondangwa during the preceding year was also made possible by the generous aid from the Swedish International Development Authority.


WANAHEDA N$ 826 000

KHOMASDAL N$ 180 000

DIGITAL LINE UNIT N$ 830 000 TOTAL N$ 2 161 000

In the central area, the new electronic exchange in Wanaheda, a suburb of Katutura in Windhoek was put into service during August/September 1992. This exchange serves the newly developing areas to the west and north of Windhoek-Katutura.

The initial capacity provides for 1services. An additional 876-port digital line unit will also be installed in Windhoek-Khomasdal to cope with expansion in that area.


N$ 2 260 000 + N$ 85 000 TOTAL N$ 2 345 000

To cope with the high demand in the central business area of Windhoek expansion of the "22" exchange resulted in a number change of 400 subscribers on 3rd August 1992. The exchange capacity was, after recent expansions, increased from 9 240 to 11 016 subscribers ports.


N$ 2 041 000 TOTAL N$ 2 041 000

Due to the limited funds, Namibian international telecommunication connections are still routed through South Africa. The microwave route to Botswana and the "PANAFTEL" network has been started with the commencement of the first of ten repeater s which presently is being built between Windhoek and the International Airport. This repeater will provide relief to the Airport where no new services can presently be provided. The remaining part of this project can only commence when the promised grant funds are released.


N$ 1 138 000 + N$ 250 000 TOTAL N$ 1 388 000

The international exchange and satellite earth station also had to be delayed due to insufficient funds being available. Preliminary building alterations and earthworks were started, to be completed during 1993, in preparation of the acquisition of the required equipment.


N$ 5 380 000 TOTAL N$ 5 380 000

Smaller new cable and open wire construction projects were carried out at the following centres: Otjinene, Aminius, Tsumeb, Lüderitz, Rehoboth, Okahandja, Grootfontein, Katima Mulilo, Omaruru, Tses and in the Windhoek suburbs of Dorado Park, Wanahed, Industria and at Brakwater.



N$ 500 000 + N$ 250 000 TOTAL N$ 750 000

Proper planning and computerisation of the activities of the new Corporation is essential and will ensure a financially viable enterprise.

APPENDIX 3 CAPITAL PROJECTS FOR 1993-10-01 TO 1994-09-30

One of the major achievements after the incorporation of the former Department of Posts and Telecommunications of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication is the increase of capital works from the last budget year before incorporation (1992/199 3: capital works: to N$ 71,9 million from 1st October 1993 to 30th September 1994. The capital projects for this period are pictured in the following table:

Table 5 Capital Works: Telecom Namibia Ltd: 1993/1994




| | IN N$ MILL | N$ MILL | N$ MILL | N$ MILL |

| | | 93/94 | 93/94 | 93/94 |


| COMPUTER SUPPORT | 10,0 | 3,0 | 2,0 | 5,0 |


| RUNDU AUTOMATION | 20,0 | 2,0 | 3,0 | 5,0 |

| (6 000 CUSTOMERS)| | | | |

| TRANS-CAPRIVI | | | | |


| KLEIN WINDHOEK | 4,5 | - | 4,5 | 4,5 |

| EXCHANGE | | | | |


| GOBABIS M/W; | 24,0 | 6,0 | 2,0 | 8,0 |

| BUILD O/W PAIR + | | | | |AUTO | | | | |

| TRANS KALAHARI | | | | |


| DLU'S OAI, PPK, | | | 10,0 | 10,0 |

| OLY, WAH, OTJ, | | | | |

| UNIT 3x5 + LTGB's| | | | |

| WINDHOEK EXPANS. | | | | |


| AUS/KOMBAT | | | 1,0 | 1,0 |

| AUTOMATION | | | | |


| NOORDOEWER | | | 2,0 | 2,0 |

| AUTOMATION | | | | |


| INTERNATIONAL | 14,0 | | 4,0 | 4,0 |

| SWITCH | | | | |


| SATELLITE EARTH | 30,0 | | 20,0 | 20,0 |

| STATION | | | | |



Continuation of table 5:




| | IN N$ MILL | N$ MILL | N$ MILL | N$ MILL |

| | | 93/94 | 93/94 | 93/94 |


| LOCAL CABLE | 18,0 | | 5,0 | 5,0 |



| FARM LINES + | | | 4,0 | 4,0 |

| SOR18 KOBLENZ, | | | | |

| LIAMBEZI, TSES + | | | | |

| OMATJETTE | | | | |

| RURAL CARRIER | | | | |

| SYSTEMS | | | | |


| OPTICAL FIBRE: | | | 2,5 | 2,5 |

| INTERN. EXCHANGE | | | | |

| MINISTRY: MINES +| | | | |

| ENERGY | | | | |

| SWITCHING CAPAC. | | | | |


| 800 TOLL FREE | | | 0,5 | 0,5 |


| METERPULSES | | | 0,5 | 0,5 |CUSTOMER BILLING | | | | |


| TELEVOTING | | | 0,5 | 0,5 |



| PACKET SWITCHING | | | 0,5 | 0,5 |



| TRAINING CENTRE | 8,0 | 1,0 | 3,0 | 4,0 |


| VEHICLES | | | 3,0 | 3,0 |


| TEST EQUIPMENT | | | 1,5 | 1,5 |


| TOOLS | | | 0,4 | 0,4 |


| TOTALS | | 12,0 | 59,9 | 71,9 |


SOURCE: Telecom Namibia Limited, Windhoek, 1993

NOTA: 1 US $ is approximately 3,8 N$ (Namibian Dollar)(1996)

Appendix 3.1 Explanation: Capital Projects: 1993/94

Appendix 3.1.1 Computer Support

A task force has to recommend the preferred method of computerisation of all subscriber and service data. This is an extremely important task to be able to provide faster response to service requests and restoration action.

Appendix 3.1.2 Rundu Automation (Trans Caprivi Link)

The automation of the Okavango Region was required to improve the service to the area. Congestion and frustration suppressed demand. An optical fibre connection to Rundu from Grootfontein, connecting to the nearly completed installation of a digital microwave link back to Tsumeb exchange will provide the required transmission. Two Digital Line Units (DLU) in Rundu will serve 1subscribers. The necessary accommodation modifications, power augmentation and local network rehabilitation and expansion will cos t an extra N$ 5 millions. The digital Trans Caprivi Link to the Okavango Region will be extended to the Caprivi Region with the automation of Katima Mulilo by the end of 1994 and will provide telecommunication links to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Appendix 3.1.3 Klein Windhoek Exchange

A new exchange was established in Klein Windhoek to serve the growing eastern suburbs. This relieved the pressure on the main exchange in Windhoek City. A building has been erected. DLU's linked with an optical fibre that will also be extended to the oth er satellite exchanges in the City provided the transmission link.

Appendix 3.1.4 Gobabis Transmission (Trans Kalahari Link)

Additional transmission capacity is required to Gobabis. This will be provided with a digital microwave link via six repeater stations. This backbone will also enable Telecom Namibia to provide rural radio services to the farming communities along the route. The first repeater station is already operational to the Windhoek International Airport. This link is part of the Trans Kalahari Telecommunication Link to Botswana and will eventually join the PANAFTEL system in Ghanzi/Botswana.

Appendix 3.1.5 Windhoek Exchange Expansion

The Windhoek WGG exchange is to be expanded to meet demand and to improve the service in town. DLU's will be installed at Pionierspark and Olympia to be able to offer value added services in these suburbs in line with the rest of the city.

Appendix 3.1.6 Automation Of Noordoewer

The automation at Noordoewer is being done to provide a good service to the community and Aussenkehr farm. This system was inaugurated during May 1994 and is the first digital exchange in the south of Namibia. A line to the farm, local cable distribution and small digital exchange is being provided. The existing transmission system will be retained for the present.

Appendix 3.1.7 International Switch

The Republic of Namibia still operates as a telecommunication province of the Republic of South Africa. To rectify this and to enable us to set own international rates, an own International Exchange is required. Tenders were called during 1994 and are cu rrently evaluated. The switch will be commissioned during 1995.

Appendix 3.1.8 Standard A Satellite Station

The above mentioned Windhoek International Exchange will still rely on South African transmission links. To rectify this a Satellite Earth Station is required. Site works, civil construction works and an Intelsat Standard A Station have to be built. Tenders were called after the finalisation of the specifications in 1993 and have been allocated early in 1994. The site works for N$ 1are near to completion, the civil construction works for N$ 6have commenced (April 1994) and the tender for the Class-A-sate llite electronic equipment has been allocated for N$ 11to Sumitomo Corporation in co-operation with NEC Corporation from Japan. The project will be completed in July 1995. A F3 Satellite Station is currently under construction in Windhoek-Olympia for dire ct connection with Great Britain and South Africa and will be commissioned at the end of July 1994. This station will provide satellite links with Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Region early in 1995.

Appendix 3.1.9 Cable Expansion in Windhoek

A major cable expansion program is required to facilitate the speedy provision of telecommunication services in the City of Windhoek. Cable congestion is evident all over the City and in new areas contractors are to be used to provide cable ducts.

Appendix 3.1.10 Rural Carrier Systems

To save on the provision of individual cooper pairs, rural carrier systems are used to combine multi party lines from theoretical exchanges to the main centres. Koblenz, Liambezi, Omatjette and Tses are to be supplied during 1994.

Appendix 3.1.11 Switching Capacity And Toll Free Services: Windhoek

A lack of sufficient switching capacity is experienced in all Windhoek exchanges. To overcome this and to be able to provide value added services all over the City, DLU's are to be provided at all exchanges. These are to be connected with fibre optic cab les and fibre optic transmission equipment is to be obtained from ALCATEL-SEL who supplied Namibia's existing system.

To provide toll free services from electronic exchanges additional software is to be obtained from Siemens. This will enable Telecom Namibia to provide this service to its customers which is already widely advertised in the press.

Appendix 3.1.12 Customer Billing

Detailed billing is a customer requirement that has to be met in both the electronic and old electromechanical exchanges. The former will be tackled in 1994 and the latter will selectively be served to meet customer demands. A premium will be charged for this service.

Appendix 3.1.13 Training Facilities

To meet the demands of the Telecom market place the training facilities high on the agenda and infrastructure needs to be expanded. New facilities can be built at the Kupferberg site adjacent to the University-of-Namibia campus.

Appendix 3.1.14 Vehicle Fleet

Telecom Namibia Ltd has 258 vehicles which are more than 8 years old, and of these 149 are more than 12 years old. To ensure an economical fleet this has to be maintained at no more than 8 years and reasonable limits on kilometer life for various vehicle categories.

Appendix 3.1.15 Test Equipment And Tools

Additional test equipment is required to test new systems and to replace obsolete units.



| No. | Connections | Year |Type| Post |Railway|Military|Private|

| | | | | km | km | km | km |


| 1. | Windhoek - Swakopmund |1901/06 | SD | 11,73| 381,66| | |

| 2. | Windhoek - Swakopmund |1908/09 | SD | 11,73| 381,66| | |

| 3. | Windhoek - Gobabis |1905 |SpE |252,91| | | |

| 4. | Windhoek - Keetmanshoop |1905/06 |SpE | 8,13| | 488,00| |

| 5. | Windhoek - Keetmanshoop |1911/12 | SE |495,13| | | |

| 6. | Windhoek - Claratal |1911/13 |SpE | 31,51| 0,50| | |

| 7. | Okahandja - Gross Barmen |1907 |SpE | 25,50| | | |

| 8. | Okahandja - Ombirisu |1911/12 |SpE |103,78| | | |

| 9. | Karibib - Swakopmund |1901 | M | | | | |

| 10. | Karibib - Swakopmund |1901 |SpE | 7,40| 194,92| | |

| 11. | Swakopmund - Tsumeb |1901/06 | SD | 9,78| 593,60| | |

| 12. | Karibib - Tsumeb |1911/12 | SD |404,26| | | |

| 13. | Tsumeb - Tsumeb Station |1908 |SpE | 1,61| | | |

| 14. | Otavi - Grootfontein |1908/09 | SD | 0,10| 84,50| | |

| | (double connection) | | | | | | |

| 15. | Otjiwarongo - Outjo |1910 | SD | 78,00| | | |

| 16. | Otjiwarongo - Otjozondjupa|1911 |SpE | 81,00| | | |

| 17. | Windhoek - Karibib |1911/13 |SpE | 7,78| | | |

| 18. | Geitsabis - Maltahöhe |1911/13 |SpE | 71,45| | | |

| 19. | Itsawisis - Berseba |1911/13 |SpE | | | 47,00| |

| 20. | Gibeon - Gochas - Aroab |1911/13 | * | | 45,00| 256,00| |

| 21. | Keetmanshoop - Lüderitz |1907/08 | SD | 1,60| 364,50| | |

| 22. | Keetmanshoop - Lüderitz |1910 | SD | 1,60| 364,50| | |

| 23. | Brackwasser - Chamis |1908 |SpE | 31,50| | 60,00| |

| 24. | Keetmanshoop - Stolzenfels|1909/10 |SpE | | | 539,57| |

| | via: Koës, Hasuur, Ukamas | | | | | | |

| 25. | Keetmanshoop - Warmbad |1906/07 |SpE |259,97| | | |

| 26. | Keetmanshoop - Cape Town |1907/12 | SE | 67,71| 179,50| | |

| 27. | Lüderitz - Angra Juntas |1910/14 |SpE |130,78| | | |

| 28. | Windhoek - Neu Heusis |1910/11 |SpE | 54,95| | | |

| 29. | Orange Crossing: Ramansdr.|1911 |SpE | 1,50| | | |

| 30. | Lüderitz - Kolmanskop |1911 | SD | | | | |

| 31. | Swakopmund: Wireless-PostO|1912 | M | 1,61| | | |

| 32. | Karibib - Usakos (double) |1912/13 |SpD | 41,23| | | |

| 33. | Lüderitz: Wireless-PostOff|1912 | M | 1,44| | | |

| 34. | Windhoek - Hatsamas |1913 |SpE | 89,33| | | |

| 35. | Okamaja - Otjozondjupa |1915 |SpE | | | 109,80| |

| 36. | Rössing - Goanikontes |1914 |SpE | | | 18,00| |

| 37. | Swakopmund: Cableh.-PostOf|1899/07 | R | 0,55| | | |

| 38. | Swakopmund: Cableh.-PostOf|1913 | R | 0,55| | | |

| 39. | Outjo - Okaukuejo |1914 |SpE | | | 114,50| |

| 40. | Outjo - Otjitambi |1915 |SpE | | | 186,29| |

| 41. | Tsumeb - Grootfontein |1915 | SE | | | 80,00| |

| 42. | Tsumeb - Namutoni |1915 |SpE | | | 89,00| 18,00|

| 43. | Windhoek: Wireless-PostOff|1914 | M | 1,90| | | |

| 44. | Karasburg - Ukamas |1915 |SpE | | | 100,00| |

| 45. | Karasburg - Uhabis |1915 |SpE | | | 116,00| |46. | Heusis - Baumgartsbrunn |1910 |SpE | | | | 9,00|

| 47. | Koanus: local connections |1913 |SpE | | | | 0,80|

| 48. | Neineis: local connections|1913 |SpE | | | | 1,00|

| 49. | Khan Mine - Arandis |1912 |SpE | | | | 10,60|

| 50. | Lüderitz - Elisabeth Bay |1910/12 |SpE | | | | 41,10|

| 51. | Pomona - Jammerbucht |1914 |SpE | | | | 11,28|


SOURCE: Compiled and re-analysed by Klaus Dierks, based on South African

Government Printing Works, Pretoria, 1914 and hand-written Report:

Compilation of the Telegraph Lines and Connections, Windhoek, 1915

NOTA: M = Morseworking:

R = Recorder

SD = Simultaneous switching in a double connection;

SE = Simultaneous switching in a single connection;

SpE = Single connection for telephone working;

SpD = Double connection for telephone working;


Dierks, Klaus: Growing to Nationhood - Khauxa!nas, Windhoek, 1992

Dierks, Klaus: Khauxa!nas - The Great Namibian Settlement,

Windhoek, 1992

Dierks, Klaus: Namibia - Key to Co-operation in the Southern African Region:

Conference: Partner of Progress, Berlin, 1993

Dierks, Klaus: Namibia - Key to Communication in the Southern African Region,

Washington D.C., September 1993

Dierks, Klaus: Namibia's Railway System - Future Link to Africa,

Harare, 1989

Dierks, Klaus: Namibian Roads in History, Frankfurt, 1992

Dierks, Klaus: Second United Nations Transportation and Communication Decade in Africa,

Addis Ababa, 1991

Dierks, Klaus: Technical Aspects for Appropriate Low-Volume Roads in Namibia

Ph.-D.-thesis, Berlin/Windhoek, 1992

Dierks, Klaus: The Development of a Roads Model for Independent Namibia, Vienna, 1989

Interessengemeinschaft (I.G.) Deutschsprachiger Südwester:

Vom Schutzgebiet bis Namibia, Windhoek, 1985

National Planning Commission: National Development Plan, Windhoek,


Telecom Namibia Business Plan 1994/95, prepared by Business and Network Development


Klaus Dierks, Ph.D. is a Namibian citizen. He studied civil engineering and history at Berlin Technical University (Germany). He has always been interested in history and archaeology and has visited nearly all major archaeological sites in the world. As roads engineer in the Namibian Department of Transport he gained a thorough knowledge of all parts of Namibia, especially its roads network. During research work for his doctoral thesis (Ph.D.) on the development of a roads system for an independent Namib ia he discovered the ancient ruined settlement of Khauxa!nas. He has published several studies on engineering issues in Namibia, especially railways, roads and telecommunications, and of the rediscovery of Khauxa!nas. Due to his commitment to the independence struggle for Namibia and the unique transport problems which were used by South Africa to create a "noose or lifeline" transport situation for Namibia, he was forced by the colonial Interim Government of 1985-1989 to resign after 22 years o f service in the Department of Transport. Dierks subsequently established his own consulting engineering firm, Namibia Consult Incorporated, which specialised in developing "Namibia Appropriate Technologies" involving a new approach to engineering to serve the interests of the Namibian people in the post-colonial era. With Namibia's Independence in March 1990, Dierks was appointed Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication in the first and second (since 21 March 1995) independent Namibian Government. He is Member of the first and the second Namibian Parliament and Member of the Central Committee of the SWAPO Party of Namibia.



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