Namibia: Windhoek Welcomes New Initiatives

In its quest to revive the Khomas region's economy, the City of Windhoek's council has given itself until December 2022 to implement various private-sector business proposals.

The business proposals will be solicited from June this year as part of the Windhoek Economic Recovery initiative (Wer), which was approved by the council last week.

At the municipal meeting held on 29 April, the city has decided to embark on an initiative to stimulate economic vibrancy and development within the capital.

The economic recovery plan will be a first for any city or town in Namibia after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out last year.

The Wer intends to create a minimum 5 000 new permanent jobs between 2021 and 2025.

Windhoek's contribution to the National GDP increased from 33 % to 36 % by 2025.

"For the city to be able to recover economically, there must be ongoing discussions with the government, and direct contact with organisations and individuals," the minutes of the meeting stated.

There was an emphasis on the private sector's involvement in the city's recovery plans.

"The initiatives should be people (private individuals) and business (entity) focused if we are to grow Windhoek's economy," the minutes stated.

The city also highlighted it would take a bottom-up approach with the initiative, which involves projects such as the Windhoek Mayoral Business Forum, Special Rating Areas, and the Windhoek Economic Development Partnership.

The city acknowledged the active role local governments can play in advancing economic transformation, instead of merely begging for more taxpayers' money and auctioning land they got for next to nothing.

The city said Wer proposals from the private sector should focus on targeted projects that would encourage job creation, expand and tap into existing skills, and expand economic growth strategies.

At least 60 % will be reserved for Namibians while 40 % will be reserved for international entities. Windhoek-based entities will be advantaged.

Proposals should not be limited to land, but should cover a wide spectrum of sectors and initiatives to foster job creation and economic and revenue growth.

Apart from job creation, the municipality also wants to build competitive local industries through domestic investments.

Councillors also want to find an alternative method of awarding municipal tenders to replace the traditional tender methods and fast track the generation of ideas and their implementation.

The effects of Covid-19 demonstrated how cities can become vulnerable if local systems are not well established to withstand external shocks.

Diversified local economies demonstrated their resilience globally amid transportation and travelling being suspended.

"It is on these tenets and realisations that the Windhoek Economic Recovery Initiative should build to ensure that Windhoek becomes resilient, adaptable, and independent," the council ministers stated.

Business proposals would be considered and further enhanced to form expression of interest evaluation documentation.

The city said the socio-economic impact of proposals would be assessed on their economic and social benefits.

This would include part-time and full-time employment at different stages of the projects. Evaluation would also consider risk management with regards to potential businesses and individuals.

Moreover, proposals should detail the environmental effects of projects, with climate change at its peak, and sustainability becoming an important variable in production models.

This should be done by including a description of positive and negative effects and measures, a waste-management plan, and an environmental impact assessment where applicable.

The council has also identified organisational initiatives that could be viewed as enablers of the successful implementation of the Wer.

The city council will also enhance its business outreach and support to strengthen stakeholder relationships.

This would be done by reviewing the city's policies and regulations, developing incentives for job creation, and structuring investment and promotion.

The city council vowed to develop a land registry and to enforce intellectual property rights and relevant agreements.

Moreover, the Wer plan to increase the city's revenue to N$20 billion by 2025.

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