23 Feb 2016 20:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 FEB (NAMPA) The Minister of Urban and Rural Development has called on local authority and regional leaders to be proactive and identify ways to add economic value to their localities.
Sophia Shaningwa said this during the official opening of the sixth Local Economic Development (LED) Pathfinders national conference under the theme 'Capitalising on local potential' in the capital on Monday.
She said it is the responsibility of every leader to participate in local economic development projects and promote it internally and externally in different ways.
The minister noted that tourism is one of the contributors to the Namibian gross domestic product (GDP), providing valuable jobs and income to Namibian citizens.
Tourism is contributing about N.dollars 7 million to the country's GDP.
Shaningwa said it is necessary that the sector expands and continuously grow to different towns and regions.
While identifying your own localities potential it can also make sense to look beyond one's own nose and find ways to cooperate with another to create synergies which are beneficial for all partners, especially with regards to tourism, she said.
Shaningwa indicated that it is by analysing various value chains and implementing necessary interventions that can help micro, small and medium businesses in overcoming difficulties like access to markets, local red tape, constraints to infrastructure development, and other specific local conditions.
The minister said economic processes are rarely constricted to one locality and often reach beyond local and national borders.
She added that through strengthening enterprises and improving the overall business environment, jobs can be created and poverty can be reduced.
I wholeheartedly wish that at the end of this conference all participants can take back valuable knowledge to their communities and start planning and even more importantly, implementing projects based on their locality potentials, Shaningwa said.
Some of the topics to be discussed during the four-day conference include analysis of socio-economic, environmental, and cultural benefits of eco-tourism; potential LED potential on tourism, locality marketing, and trade fairs and expos.
Over 50 participants, including local authority councillors, regional councillors, local authority officials and traditional leaders are taking part in the conference.