Governor of Hardap region Salomon April has promised to establish a regional think tank. The governor made the undertaking when delivering his maiden state of the region address at Mariental yesterday.
April said that his office would spearhead the initiative and rope in former governors as well as former ministers and deputy ministers who hail from the region.
The think tank, which will be chaired by the governor, is meant to be an advisory council that will serve as the professional and intellectual stimulant to fast-track key development interventions.
“In order to ensure that our people regain their dignity and claim their rightful stake in the abundant human, natural and physical resources of our region, my office will set up a Hardap regional think tank,” said April.
He noted that to ensure there is greater accountability and transparency in the region’s development process, clear targets should be set that must involve people affected by the process.
He added that his office has engaged various local authorities, councillors and constituency development committees to explore the people’s needs.
April also shared his vision for the region during his tenure. He said he plans on exploring community-based planning with emphasis on involving the local community in strategic and management processes.
“This consensus building approach can help our communities to join together in interpreting how they would like their community to develop over the next few years,” he noted.
April stated that the region, which is faced with severe drought, would have to test and roll out innovative and smart climate-friendly agricultural practices.
“We cannot farm the way we are used to, droughts are increasingly becoming inevitable and we have to face this reality and plan accordingly. It is only if we diversify our activities in the sector that we can create jobs and employment,” he said, adding that farmers in the region who are mostly livestock farmers get lesser prices for their farm produce due to surplus production.
“This problem can be solved by diversification which creates an opportunity to earn more money from livestock produce,” the governor highlighted, urging that farmers should diversify and integrate crops, horticulture and vermiculture into livestock farming.
April furthermore said that he is not pleased with the number of households living in shacks in the region, which stands at 53% according to the 2011 National Census.
“My office intends to actively engage all local authorities, the Namibia Housing Action Group, the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, Build Together Programme and private sector to ensure that our people are able to have a roof over their heads,” said April.
He said that in order to make this a reality, all eight constituencies would provide land to his office in order to construct affordable housing for the region’s inhabitants.