NKURENKURU – High levels of inequality remain persistently high in the Kavango West, despite positive developments in the last seven years, governor Sirkka Ausiku has said.
Ausiku, who delivered the state of the region address yesterday, said challenges in the Kavango West remain the same and need to be addressed over the next five years.
She said Kavango West is still highly rural, with high levels of poverty and unemployment.
“However, the 2018 Namibia Labour Force Survey indicated that our regional unemployment rate slightly dropped to 33% in 2018 from 36.4% in 2016 and among the youth, it dropped to 46.8% from 52.6%,” she said.
“This is an indication that government and private sector interventions are showing positive impact. However, development in the region is still hampered by challenges, such as poor road infrastructure networks like feeder roads in the rural areas, inadequate water infrastructure and poor rural electrification infrastructure.”
Ausiku also attributed the slow pace of development in the region to poor mobile communication networks in most parts, land administration and management, as well as inadequate health and educational facilities, coupled with a high rate of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts, among others.
Ausiku stated that to have a better understanding of the region’s socio-economic position, a desktop research study was done and the regional statistical baseline data was compiled, specifically on key areas of development, namely the provision of water and sanitation, agriculture production, education, health, roads and rural electrification.
According to her, there is a baseline to benchmark future development in the next five years to improve the livelihoods of inhabitants.
“In the next five years, as a region, we want to see more investment in the field of agriculture, focusing on food production and value addition to address food security in the region and the country at large,” she stated.
“The outbreak of Covid-19 in the country has taught us to start focusing on food production – and it is time for our region to take the lead, since we have the river, fertile soil and favourable climatic conditions.”
Meanwhile, the governor highlighted some of the projects that were succesfully implemented over the period under review. They include construction of constituency offices at Mpungu, Mankumpi, Tondoro and Ncamagoro.
“Government Office Park phase 2 is to commence with an allocated amount of N$3 million in the current financial year for the review of the design and scope of this project,” she said.
Construction of the Rural Development Centre (RDC) at Rupara village is still ongoing.
“Katwitwi has been proclaimed a settlement, which resulted in the construction of services; phase 1 is completed and phase 2 is ongoing – and the next step is for the settlement to be a village council.”
Feasibility studies at three identified growth points: Mpungu, Bunya and Katjinakatji villages were done to determine their potentials, which will see them upgraded to settlements are nearing completion.
“The Kavango West Regional Council has also been implementing rural development programmes, and a total of 112 projects were supported in all our eight constituencies,” she added.
In regards to education during the review period, no new schools were constructed in the region, although the request was made to construct a fully-fledged new secondary school with a hostel in Nkurenkuru.
“However, the region appreciates the construction of a number of additional classrooms and new hostels at Katjinakatji SSS and Erago PS, as well as renovations at various schools,” she said.
There are about 177 schools in Kavango West and out of that 45 are makeshifts, 71 of them have no electricity, while 53 have no potable water. There has been a construction of additional 127 classrooms at various schools over the past seven years.