Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

7 December 2012

Namibia: MCA Funding Helps Support Tourism

With only two years to go, the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia has contributed significantly to the reduction of poverty through its economic growth projects and development funding.

The Compact Agreement signed between the Government and the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia in July 2008, is worth US$304.5 million. The five-year implementation started in September 2009.

The 2011 Statistical Report on Tourism in Namibia, which was launched on Monday, 3 December by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's Directorate of Tourism, was supported by the MCA through technical consultation worth N$1 million. Namibia is the first country that is benefitting from a project in the tourism sector under this programme.

According to Penny Akwenye, Millennium Challenge Account Namibia CEO, it is the aim of the MCA to make the country a preferred tourist destination. Speaking at the launch of the 3rd Annual Report in Windhoek, Akwenye noted that although Namibia is relatively unknown as a tourism destination for long-haul international tourists, the country is high on the International Tourism Agenda especially now that it will host the Adventure Travel World Summit in 2013.

Akwenye highlighted that low levels of private sector investment in conservancies limit benefits to formerly disadvantaged communities. "Millennium Challenge Account Namibia is helping 32 conservancies and during the period under review, these were assisted with the grant applications to the Conservancy Development Support Grants Fund," said Akwenye. The grant, Akwenye added, will enable the conservancies to negotiate a deal with private investors.

Currently in its third year of implementation, a total number of 108 contracts valued at US$65.18 million were awarded between October 2011 and September 2012 in respect of goods, services and works in three sectors, tourism, education and agriculture. Since inception, US$219 million worth of contracts have been signed which represents 72% of the compact budget. However, once the Etosha National Park works contracts are signed in 2013, more than 80% of the compact budget will have been committed.

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