Uutoni calls for collaboration among local authorities

KEETMANSHOOP: Urban and Rural Development Minister Erastus Uutoni has said collaboration among municipalities, regional councils, and traditional authorities is essential and local authorities should not operate in isolation.

Uutoni made the remarks at the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) local economic development conference in Lderitz on Tuesday. He challenged the local authorities to share success stories, learn from each other’s challenges, and pool their resources.

‘We can address common issues such as accelerated land delivery, housing, sanitation and environmental sustainability. Let us foster a spirit of solidarity that transcends boundaries and benefits every Namibian,’ he said.

Uutoni said effective local economic development requires a holistic approach as it is not only limited to attracting foreign direct investment or building infrastructure, but involves an understanding of the unique needs of local communities, harnessing local talents and promoting sustainable practices.

Let us explore avenues for diversification, value addition and inclusive growth. Our rural areas, often overlooked, hold immense potential, let us therefore unlock that potential through targeted interventions and smart planning. That is why the national policy framework refers to regional and local economic development (LED) and not just LED, because there are integral links between rural and urban areas which we need to maximise,’ he said.

Uutoni further said while local authorities play a critical role in fostering sustainable growth, prosperity and well-being for citizens, local economic development is not merely an abstract concept, it is the lifeblood of towns, cities, and rural areas that drives job creation, infrastructure development, and social progress.

‘When our local economies thrive, so do the livelihoods of our people and that is why it is our collective duty to nurture an environment where businesses can flourish, innovation can thrive and opportunities can flourish,’ he said.

The three-day
meeting is aimed at providing an opportunity for stakeholders in the local economic sector to discuss and deliberate on matters that shape the future of their communities. It is being held under the theme ‘Promoting local economic development through, inclusive strategic planning, innovation and diversification of revenue streams’.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency