Document: Bridging the Economic Divide in Urban Areas of Namibia: Townships within the Local Economic Development Framework
Two decades after independence the legacy of Apartheid is still clearly visible in Namibia as towns continue to be segregated along ethnic lines. This study takes on to evaluate in how far not only urban populations are divided but also urban economies. In Gobabis, Windhoek, Luderitz and Oshakati the extent of the economic divide was assessed and the economic potential of townships evaluated. The findings show that township economies remain largely isolated. They lack political embeddedness, are mostly unorganised and show little diversity. Township businesses generally have low capacities and lack owners with entrepreneurial drive. In the decentralised government system of Namibia both central government and local authorities need to leverage existing potentials to foster inclusive Local Economic Development. At this the focus must shift from transfer-oriented policies to those that foster sustainable capacity building.