Planning Walvis Bay’s future
02 March 2021 | Local News
Tulimekondjo Iishitile; Economic development manager; “The municipality is crafting a new Local Economic Development Strategy and Policy…”
The Department of Community and Economic Development recently launched the commencement of the Local Economic Development for Walvis Bay.
The bid was awarded to Development Consultants for Southern Africa (DECOSA) to develop a five-year local economic plan for the town.
In light of this, DECOSA managing director Prof Dr R. Trede recently gave a presentation to councillors and management, highlighting key focus areas for the plan and how it will tie in with the municipality’s overall strategic plan.
Although Walvis Bay was formally integrated into Namibia four years after independence, the town soon became a hub of economic development in the country. From the outset, the local authority prioritised economic development to become not only a logistics centre for Namibia, but also a gateway to central and southern Africa.
The Port of Walvis Bay is Namibia's largest commercial port and the town features excellent road infrastructure to all regions. Further assets include the airport, a solid business sector, the railway line complementing road infrastructure, tourism attractions, as well as diverse and reliable educational and health facilities.
Despite these positive developments, the above-mentioned assets operate in a global arena, subscribing to international standards dictated by global supply and demand rules. This requires proactive policy making because greater economic development comes with greater disruption and polarization.
“For us to remain relevant, the municipality of Walvis Bay is crafting a new Local Economic Development (LED) Strategy and Policy to reduce existing challenges such as the impact of Covid-19 and to mobilise the advantages needed to bring about resilient and sustainable economic development,” manager for Economic Development Tulimekondjo Iishitile, said.
She added that the LED Strategy and Policy will formulate actions for the next 5 to 10 years through social development, employment creation, the attraction of local and foreign direct investments, poverty reduction and improving the quality of living standard of residents.
Because the LED’s purpose is to build economic capacity to improve quality of life for all, it is a process in which public, business, and nongovernmental sector stakeholders must work collectively. Cooperation from all stakeholders is vital to ensure its success.
The public sector’s main role is the creation of a conducive environment to stimulate economic growth; on the other hand the private sector is the engine for growth. Furthermore, the objective of providing economic opportunities can only be reached if local entrepreneurship is promoted.
The LED Strategy and Policy will be underlined by a detailed, practical and workable implementation plan spanning five years, determining priorities and interventions that have the greatest potential impact for economic development.
The implementation plan will be complemented by a monitoring plan with expected results, impact, annual targets, means of validation, risks, etc. for each action. It will be a guideline not only for the municipality but also for stakeholders to monitor the success of the Strategy.
The Business Sector focus groups scheduled on 3 and 4 March 2021 have been postponed to a later date.
The Local Economy Development Plan of Walvis Bay is, however ongoing and various industries will be contacted by the municipality’s Consultant.