The Provision of Low-cost Land for Housing
Some 50% of Namibia’s urban population now live in informal settlements, more than 600,000 residents. Most informal settlements have very limited access to services, and the shacks they live in do not provide a minimal level of dignity. Every year, more than 12,000 additional shacks are erected in towns across Namibia.
To address this rapid informal settlement growth, Development Workshop Namibia (DWN) and the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE) initiated a programme for the provision of low-cost land for housing in 2018. In partnership agreements with local authorities, low-income residents have the opportunity to buy titled, serviced plots at development costs (EUR 1,000 – EUR 2,000). There are 16 extensions (neighborhoods) and 4000 plots currently under development. The programme is fully supported by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD), and DWN is an official partner to achieve the objectives of the Presidency’s Development Plan HARAMBEE II. It has the explicit aim make urban growth more sustainable and inclusive and to contribute towards the achievement of Namibia’s national development goals, such as stated in NDP 5 and Vision 2030.
Partner towns: Oshakati, Okahao, Opuwo, Oniipa, Karibib, Keetmanshoop, Stampriet, Okakarara, Otwjiwarongo and Swakopmund.
- DWN enters into partnership with a local authority, where DWN acts as an agent on behalf of the local authority to develop low-cost residential land;
- The local authority provides land, and DWN (together with its private sector partners) provides all services to develop the land, including town planning, land surveying, engineering and conveyancing;
- The cost of the residential plots is calculated on the basis of all costs incurred for the development of the new extension, including construction of services (water, electricity, sewer), town planning, land surveying, engineering and conveyancing. There is no profit on the sale of land nor hidden costs, and the land remains the property of the local authority until title is transferred to the new owners;
- Extensions can be developed with partial services only in order to keep the costs low (as per decisions taken by the respective local authority).
Financial management and principles:
- All income and expenditures of a project in a specific town are managed through a FNB joint bank account, with two signatories from the local authority and two signatories from DWN. Any transaction from the account needs one signature from each party;
- An initial donation from DWN/NCE (or other donor) is deposited into this account, and all payments of clients that are purchasing plots also go into this account;
- The account serves to pay the service providers (such as town planner) and the construction of services;
- The donation serves to provide initial cash flow and acts as a revolving fund. After one project cycle (extension) is concluded and all clients have paid off their land, the amount of the initial donation is available again for the next phase;
- DWN charges NAD 1000 (EUR 60) per plot, this supporting DWN’s operation in the respective town and therefore allowing the programme to grow on a financially sustainable basis.
Main donors: NCE, KfW, B2Gold, RMB, GIZ, FNB, MTC.
Additional donors: Bannerman Resources, Osino Resources, Namibian Chamber of Mines.
The programme is jointly implemented by DWN and the NCE and with technical support from Urban Dynamics (town planner), Strydom & Associates (land surveyor), Knight Piésold (Engineer), Lithon (Engineer) and ESI Attorneys (Conveyancer). All these institutions have provided essential support from the beginning, for the design and successful implementation of the programme.