SWAKOPMUND - President Geingob says Namibia needs to plan ahead for urbanisation over the coming decades.
Geingob made the observation last Thursday when he appeared as guest of honour at the opening of the newly constructed Dome facility in Swakopmund.
Geingob says that United Nations expects the world population to increase by 32 percent from 7.2 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050.
The world’s urban population will increase by 63 percent from 3.9 to 6.3 billion, with significant growth expected in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Based on that Geingob says the demand for housing, jobs, healthcare, transport and services will also increase and thus Namibia should be ready to meet the demands of urbanisation.
He added that the world currently find itself in an era of rapid technological advancement.
“Last week I was in Johannesburg where I joined fellow leaders from the continent and the world at large to discuss various topics which are important to the development of our countries. The dominant theme around all these discussions was the fourth industrial revolution which is described by the World Economic Forum as a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before,” Geingob explained.
According to him, the revolution is raising global income levels and improving the quality of life for populations around the world.
“We acknowledged that Africa missed out on the previous industrial revolution, hence we should ensure that it benefits from the fourth industrial revolution, seeing that it is about smart cities that adapt to urbanisation,” he said.
Geingob said that since the turn of the century, Africa, and Namibia itself, witnessed rapid increases in quality of life, mainly attributed to improved access to services.
He added that urbanisation has not been without its challenges as planners and architects have had their work cut out to adapt cities and towns to meet the rapid levels of industrialisation and technological advancement.
“The question however is not whether urbanisation is good or bad, but how government and the private sector can devise methods to administer the complexities of urban life,” he said
According to the Namibia Population and Housing Census, in 1991 the urban population of Namibia stood at 28 percent. The population subsequently increased to 33 percent in 2001 and 42 percent in 2011.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, this trend is not unique to Namibia but is observed in most southern African countries where levels of urbanisation are estimated to have reached over 50 percent.