Windhoek short of industrial land

Windhoek City spokesperson Harold Akwenye

The Windhoek City Council is grappling with a shortage of industrial land, prompting the local authority to subdivide a portion of Farm Ujams No. 288 and establishing a new industrial township to be named Ujams Industrial Estate.

In a recent public notice, the city council revealed that Ujams Industrial Estate will encompass 133 erven.

The city council has submitted its proposal to the Urban and Regional Planning Board.

“The main purpose of the township establishment is to create erven that will cater primarily to industrial needs,” reads the notice. The city’s spokesperson Harold Akwenye said the portion on which Ujams Industrial Estate is being established stretches from Natis andVan Eck power station in a northerly direction up to Elisenheim.

“The site earmarked for development is south of the Ujams treatment plant. The land use will allow for industrial activities in terms of the Windhoek Planning Scheme and activities similar to what is found in the Lafrenz and northern industrial areas are expected to be established in the proposed new Ujams Industrial Area,” he said.

The proposed township layout is available for inspection at the municipality’s customer care centre.

The city council is inviting objections to the proposed development by 29 September. The last industrial development known as Prosperita Extension 1 comprising 71 erven was gazetted on 15 September.

Welcoming the proposed development, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Windhoek branch chairperson, Philip Hikumwah, said the city should make it easier for entrepreneurs to obtain land at an affordable price.

He said this would help put the country towards an industrialisation path.

“We want the city to come up with innovative ideas that will allow entrepreneurs to either purchase the land or lease it for purchase. We need a modality on how to acquire land, not the traditional way of paying for the land upfront before gaining ownership, so that you can start operating,” said Hikumwah.

He said the city must explore joint venture, land swap and development agreement strategies.

“By being in joint ventures, individuals and organisations can partner and strategically approach the city to acquire land. This can help them share costs, decrease financial burdens and pool expertise,” he said.

According to him, the land swap strategy allows landowners to negotiate a land swap deal without involving additional financial resources.

He said the development agreements would allow landowners or communities to form development agreements. “These agreements typically outline mutually beneficial terms that encourage land acquisition for development. It’s wonderful to see such forward-thinking ideas being put into action,” he said.

Hikumwah said the city council initiative will also stimulate innovative industrial activities, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

NCCI chief executive officer Charity Mwiya said the concept will alleviate the burden of expensive space rental for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Many of them cannot afford rent in the middle of the city and this initiative comes after we tabled a proposal for a mixed urban development where SMEs can be accommodated,” she said.

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