Fight for economic development not political positions – Uutoni

Erastus Uutoni

Uurban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni has called on local authority councillors to educate themselves on the politics of the economy and move away from thinking about political positions which leads to infighting to the detriment of citizens.

Uutoni says local authority councillors need to understand that this is the generation that must prepare a solid foundation through local economic development for future generations to come, therefore, old paradigms of thinking are unacceptable.

He made the remarks on Tuesday at the opening of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (Alan) local economic development indaba being held at Lüderitz in the //Kharas region.

The aim of the indaba is to collectively face the challenges and work together to address the economic health of municipalities and the livelihoods of local residents.

The indaba is being held under the theme: ‘Promoting Local Economic Development Through Inclusive Strategic Planning, Innovation, Diversification of Revenue Streams’.

The gathering is attended by South African Local Government Association president Bheki Stofile, Botswana Association of Local Authorities representative Felicia Bakaile and members of the Green Hydrogen Council.

“You know events of this nature are very important – important in the sense you’re here to learn about the politics of the economy, not the politics of who’s going to be mayor at the end of the year. It’s the politics of the economy; that’s why we say political economy.

“My dear brothers and sisters, since those years, you’re still stuck in those old ways of thinking about politics. We are the generation to prepare a strong foundation for the generation to come and it’s through local economic development,” said Uutoni.

Uutoni added that local authority representatives should focus their thinking and adjust their vision on becoming champions of economic development and create an enabling environment for both investors and job seekers with boldness.

“Our commitment today shapes the future of generations to come; therefore, let us remember that our decisions will greatly impact the lives, dreams and aspirations of those who come after us. Let us be realistic in our actions and serve our people with compassion to ensure that there will be another generation,” said Uutoni.

//Kharas governor Aletta Fredericks said the gathering marks a pivotal moment in the region’s journey towards sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

Lüderitz stands as a beacon for progress in the development of emerging green hydrogen and oil industries and is the epicentre of these transformative sectors, said Frederick.

“Subsequently, it is critical that we must encourage and push our citizens and local businesses to actively participate in our economic development efforts and urge them to embrace innovation, seize opportunities for diversification and contribute to the growth of our country’s revenue streams,” said Fredericks.

Alan president Samuel !Oe-Amseb said societies are placing demands on local governments for better ways to achieve local economic development, coupled with ever changing geo-political and demographic reforms.

!Oe-Amseb said this has brought about a need for local governments to re-engineer their operations with the objective of achieving sustained economic growth and development through the reconstruction of their respective social-economic environments.

“We have a bigger role to play to be remembered as a team that serves the residents … [we] need to work jointly to find amicable solutions for issues of common interest, and the common interest why we become councillors is that I am going to that local authority to deliver,” said !Oe-Amseb.

The week-long indaba has brought together 46 local authorities out of 57, representatives from the central government, the private sector, local authority associations and international organisations. The indaba further seeks to unlock investment, partnership, networking and business opportunities for local authorities.

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