The two-year project, known as Urban Resource Efficiency in Developing Countries – pilot study of Walvis Bay, Namibia (NAMURBAN), is financed by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, SAMK and nine Finnish companies, to the value of 440 000 EUR, approximately N$6,6 million.
NAMURBAN widens the co-operation between SAMK and the Poly from education to research and development work. The research is aimed at developing a framework for urban resource efficiency utilization in developing countries using Namibia as a pilot country. NAMURBAN is part of Tekes and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ BEAM – Business with Impact – programme for innovations. It aims to meet the needs of developing countries and to provide Finnish companies with new business opportunities in the growing markets of such countries. The nine Finnish companies involved in the NAMURBAN project are actively participating and presenting high levels of skills and technology on housing, renewable energy, water and sanitation as well as Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
The research conducted by the NAMURBAN project will be the first to study and develop a sustainable technological concept on urban environments in developing countries. The expected results include proposals for solutions on affordable housing, increase in renewable energy and clean water in Namibia.
The project was officially launched at the residence of the Ambassador of Finland, Anne Saloranta, who said the project has the potential to contribute considerably to improving the lives and livelihoods of the population of Walvis Bay. “This is very much in accordance with Finland’s development policy and its key focus on the reduction of inequality and eradication of extreme poverty,” she said.
The Rector of the Poly, Tjama Tjivikua, said the Poly and its Finnish partners will be the first partnership to study and develop a sustainable technological concept on urban environments in developing countries.
“The potential of a project of this nature for the higher education sector is enormous. Universities have several responsibilities to society, and therefore the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) will play an active role in knowledge sharing and dissemination of the project results among local and regional academic fraternities, the business sector, decision makers and civic society,” Tjivikua said.