The continued growth of the Eenhana Trade and Investment Expo has convinced us this month to take a closer look at the development of this town.
Focusing on Eenhana has left us with lessons that urban growth in Namibia’s individual towns has not always been accompanied by parallel economic growth.
It is legitimate to argue that at the very least local authorities are a necessary condition for innovation, social change and economic growth. How this happens makes the story complex.
We are still a long way from achieving decentralisation. Government should revamp the Trust Fund for Regional Development and Equity Provisions without delay.
Ninety percent of local authorities are receiving qualified opinions from the auditor general. Does this mean that they are incompetent? No. Does it mean that nothing is being done? No. Most of these local authorities do not have the skilled people to run their books mainly because no one wants to go and work in towns outside the major four (Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Oshakati).
Government through the Trust Fund should complement the efforts of the local authorities in development so that we can have a lot of qualified people working in those towns. Otherwise whole purpose of decentralisation is a fluke.
Eenhana has done so much in so little time. It now needs all stakeholders to grow its potential. That employees from the Ministry of Education working in Eenhana have to commute 130km every day to Ongwediva for accommodation is a sorry state of affairs. This, considering that the local authority has a lot of land, but much of which remains to be serviced due to funding and also that the serviced land still has to be proclaimed by central government, a process they say takes ages.
Eenhana is not an isolated case. Eenhana however remains unique in its potential and the readiness of its people to commit for a cause to the development of their town. PF