The landscape of Namibia is largely made up of desert ranchland with a long coastline on the South Atlantic. The country, one of the least populated in the world, borders South Africa, Botswana and Angola. Rich on natural minerals such as diamonds, gold, uranium, copper and rare earth minerals, Namibia has become a middle-income country. However, Namibia’s current-day political stability and relatively strong economic growth has not been enough to deal with its levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment, due to extreme socio-economic inequalities inherited from the years when it was still under an apartheid system.
Namibia was one of the last countries on the continent to decolonise, gaining independence from South Africa in 1990. After this time, it experienced a rapid increase in urbanisation. This resulted in the fast growth of numerous informal settlements and backyard shacks. Today up to 25 per cent of the Namibian population is living in informal settlements, which shows a significant challenge facing urban development.
The Namibian government commissioned the urban profiling in 2011 to assess the informal settlements and its problems in three locations: Aroab, Opuwo and Walvis Bay. The issues identified in the profiles have enabled the mobilisation of various stakeholders at the national level to work together in addressing the informal settlements. Through the PSUP, government commitment towards providing secure tenure and legislation review has been achieved. This includes community participation in the Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment process. A USD 4.5 billion “Housing the Masses” project has the target to build 185,000 houses by the year 2030. The Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD) is implementing the project. The mass housing project aims at alleviating the housing shortage in the country and preventing more slum formation. The PSUP shall assist in reviewing principles of the project. The national Mass Housing Programme also provides an opportunity to the towns implementing the program to apply for Phase 3 funding.