The partners have formed a consortium known as ‘Smart Community’ which aims to devise solutions for holistic community development projects by responding to the challenges of rapid urbanisation in Namibia. It promotes local economic and social development and value creation in an environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable way.
Smart Community addresses a wide range of issues from service provision, community building and employment creation to housing. The development process that has been set in motion by the signing of the MoU will commence with a survey among residents, service providers, officials, policy makers and the business fraternity at Keetmanshoop to determine the town’s housing needs.
The consortium consists of Lithon Developers and its four Finnish partners that represent expertise in the fields of architecture, town planning, engineering, construction and health and social services. The research partners include NUST, University of Tampere and VVT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. Funding for the research is provided by the partners in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes).
Gabriel Freyer, Chairperson of the Management Committee of the Keetmanshoop Municipal Council, welcomed the initiative during a brief signing ceremony and said his Council values the importance of Private Public Partnerships that deliver essential infrastructure. He said the Council has always encouraged investors to tap into the opportunities presented by Keetmanshoop.
“We are pleased and excited by this new concept that has been introduced to us by the Finnish-Namibian Smart Community Consortium. We believe that agreements such as this will go a long way towards alleviating the need for housing. What is even more spectacular about the proposed concept is that it encompasses holistic community development as well as the provision of affordable housing,” Freyer said
He assured the Consortium that the Council would fulfil its promise of providing the necessary land for development.