Namibia-Housing Crisis Confirmed

Namibia-Housing Crisis Confirmed


Namibia-Housing Crisis

Namibia-Housing Crisis

President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday lamented the critical housing situation that has made housing a luxury for many Namibians.

"It is a source of great concern that 16 percent of the population live in shacks or improvised housing units. This situation must be addressed and addressed speedily," Pohamba said yesterday during the launch of the 2011 Population and Housing Census Basic Report that indicates about 336 000 Namibians have been condemned to live in corrugated iron-sheet shack dwellings.

While the preliminary results of this latest census were already released last year, yesterday's launch contained a much more detailed depiction of the demographic and socio-economic status of the country. In terms of housing, which was singled out by President Pohamba, the census showed that 38 percent of Namibia's 2.1 million people live in traditional dwellings, 30 percent live in detached houses, 16 percent live in shacks and 8 percent live in semi-detached dwellings such as townhouses.

In addition, 80 percent of households have access to safe drinking water, while only about half of all households - 49 percent - have access to toilet facilities. "Our country faces many challenges that require urgent action. These include unemployment, poverty, socio-economic inequalities, skills shortages and a narrow industrial base. Our short, medium and long-term development initiatives are aimed at addressing these challenges.

"Therefore, policy makers, civil servants and other stakeholders must pay particular attention to the analysis contained in this report. This will go a long way in enabling our nation to initiate effective interventions aimed at improving the living conditions of our people and overcoming the current and future development challenges," added the president.

The report further reveals that urbanisation has increased since the last census in 2001 and today more than 43 percent of Namibians live in urban areas, compared to 33 percent in 2001. With regard to education, the literacy rate now stands at 89 percent, while enrollment for the primary school age group stands at 87 percent. The basic report also shows that in absolute numbers Namibia's population increased by 280 747 people between 2001 and 2011 to 2.1 million people.

It also revealed that the population growth rate has slowed down from 2.6 percent during the first decade of independence to 1.4 percent between 2001 and 2011 and that currently 52 percent of the total population are women. In 1991 Namibia had a population of 1.4 million people and this figure grew to 1.8 million in 2001.

Namibia's Statistician General, Dr John Steytler, informed the gathering at a local hotel yesterday in the capital that Namibia has made strides in various categories including the reduction of poverty from about 70 percent of the population in 1993/1994 to 29 percent in 2009/10.

"This is 360 000 people that were lifted out of poverty and the poverty rate has been slashed by 40 percent. However, we must be aware that people are still susceptible to poverty due to challenges like drought or floods and this is where social safety nets will have to play their part," commented Steytler.
Steytler also touched on the ownership of assets which indicates that while 71 percent of the population own a radio, 60 percent own a cellphone and 35 percent own a refrigerator, only 37 percent own a television set and only 22 percent own a car.

"Looking at these statistics it is clear that there is scope for Namibia's middle class to grow," added Steytler. In order to modernise and consolidate Namibia's institutions that are involved in the collection of national statistics a new Statistics Act was promulgated in June 2011, replacing the old Statistics Act, Act No. 66 of 1976. The Namibia Statistics Agency was established in April 2012 in terms of the new Act, with a mandate to ensure the timely production of relevant and quality statistics.

The 2011 Population and Housing Census, which took place from August 28 to September 15 2011, is the third national census to be conducted in Namibia after independence. The first took place in 1991 and the second in 2001.
Said President Pohamba: "I am happy to state that the exercise was conducted in full conformity with national requirements and in accordance with the United Nations Principles and Recommendations for the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Census, which all UN member states are expected to comply with."

Kewords - moladi, Namibia housing backlog, Dr John Steytler, Housing Crisis, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, corrugated iron-sheet, shack dwellings, solution

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