The dilemma of Poverty and Urban Development in Namibia

Namibia is an upper middle-income country, one of only eight in Africa. Despite relatively good economic and employment growth, the Namibian population continue to be susceptible to poverty. Namibia’s poverty and inequality levels remain among the highest. About 28.7% of the population is poor while 15% are extremely poor. Poverty is highest in rural (37%) than in urban areas (15%). It is also high among women (32%) than man (26%). The mostly rural regions of Kavango, Zambezi, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Ohangwena and Kunene have poverty levels that are high than the national average while poverty in Khomas and Erongo which are more urbanized regions is 10% or less.

Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhoek (DHPS), grade 10 classes, host an annual two- day education project with experts to strive to understand the issue of national concern and work toward  empowering the youth to take considerable action in addressing poverty and related issues and ensuring no one is left behind As one of the longstanding partners since the inception of this project, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) delivered a presentation on the topic,”Poverty and Urban Development” following the students’ field visit to the informal settlements in Katutura.

UNIC presented recent studies on the poverty rate in Namibia, in conjunction with causes of poverty and solutions on how we all can ‘take action’ in tackling the current water crisis and economic recession hindering the counties growth. An introduction to the United Nation’s programmes and mandates was given to the learners to allow them to have a better understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The presentation also elaborated on the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) 2019-2023 which contributes to four main result areas:

  1. Economic Progression
  2. Social Transformation
  3. Environmental Sustainability
  4. Good Governance

The learners described their visit to the township, as eye-opening and impactful. One learner recounted seeing many children of her age and younger who were unable to attend school as a result of circumstances and felt saddened by the sight. Statistics revealed that the rapid growth of informal houses in Namibia amounts to nearly 140 000.

The UNIC team also used the opportunity to introduce the ActNow  global campaign which aims to generate momentum towards the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019. The youth were encouraged to add their voice and to take action to reduce emissions and build climate resilience and adaptation.