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Namibia: African Development Bank grant gives life-changing opening for female freight forwarders
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime” – Fabiola Hindjou, Namibian freight and logistics worker
In the commercial department of TransNamib, the national rail company of Namibia, Fabiola Hindjou is responsible for the tariffs. She is in charge of assessing TransNamib’s local, regional and global transport rates and explores potential areas of growth for the company.
Her experience in the business development section fueled a keen interest in the Master Plan for the development of an International Logistics Hub for Southern African Development Community (SADC) Countries in the Republic of Namibia. Launched in 2015, the Master Plan aims to transform the country into a regional leader in logistics and distribution.
Hindjou soon foresaw great opportunities for TransNamib and her career. That is why she seized the chance offered by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group to join the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA) training program.
The training targeted mainly women in shipping or those seeking to join the industry. The course covers the rapidly evolving economic freight environment and includes electronic freight and logistics.
The one-year training was financed by the African Development Bank, as part of the Walvis Bay Port New Container Terminal Expansion Project. The Bank provided a grant of about $1.24 million to the Government of Namibia in 2013, for the logistics and capacity building component, with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group as the executing agency. The grant focused on logistics and capacity building.
“I can’t thank the Bank enough for giving us the opportunity to do that course. We are the first ones in Namibia to do it. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Hindjou.
Chantel Burger, who is the Windhoek branch manager for Woker Freight Services Ltd, one of the oldest logistics companies in Southern Africa, is another proud graduate of the training program that Hindjou attended.
“The legal knowledge, the right terminology, the Incoterms [International Commercial Terms], the risk mitigation, these were all learnt during the training. It has allowed us to know and understand the bigger picture, not only our Namibian side,” she said.
Both Hindjou and Burger strongly believe that the course has given them and their company a lasting advantage over their competition and, with their academic qualifications, they are better equipped to help Namibia become a logistics hub in Southern Africa.