Provision of Pro-poor Urban Infrastructure

Provision of Pro-poor Urban Infrastructure


Access to water, sewer, electricity, roads and waste removal services are amongst the basic services that should be provided to all urban households in any town. However, most informal settlement residents in Namibia (about 50% of all urban residents), do not have access to several of these services.

Lack of infrastructure investments: In most towns in Namibia, existing bulk infrastructure lags far behind demand. Situations that can be observed include:

  1. Bulk water supplies to the town insufficient to allow individual connections to informal settlement residents;
  2. Oxidation ponds that are at full capacity;
  3. Electricity main lines, as well as bulk water and bulk sewer lines not available at the periphery of towns where new housing developments are being constructed;
  4. Waste removal services either non or only partially existent in informal settlements.

Insufficient maintenance: Added to the lack of infrastructure is insufficient maintenance of existing infrastructure, especially sewerage. This is most visible through manhole overflows, non-functioning sewage pumps and overgrown oxidation ponds.

High-cost residential and business developments: Insufficient bulk infrastructure means that new residential developments must pay for connection lines to distant next connection points. Adding these costs to residential area development costs creates additional burdens to residents.

Inequitable allocation of resources: The already-scarce funds available for upgraded or new infrastructure are often applied in the better-resourced areas of a town, rather than in poorer parts such as informal settlements where it is most needed.


Infrastructure investments that directly benefit the urban poor are the backbone of more equitable and sustainable urban development. This DWN programme assists local authorities to assess infrastructure needs, identifies financing opportunities if possible, and manages construction projects.

Infrastructure assessments: These assessments provide a clear picture of infrastructure needed to enable more inclusive and sustainable urban growth. The assessments are implemented by local engineering companies, with specialised input from fields such as town planning and demographics. The assessments also provide cost estimates for the infrastructure components that are identified as most critical, providing a basis for fund procurement.

Infrastructure maintenance: DWN provides guidelines and training to local authorities on how to maintain critical infrastructure components, especially sewage-related infrastructure. This allows for maintenance costs to be budgeted annually and investments into technical capacity of local authority staff.

Infrastructure budgeting and financing: Together with international development partners, DWN assists local authorities to budget for the construction of new and maintenance of existing bulk infrastructure. DWN currently assists 4 towns with infrastructure investments with a total value of EUR 3.5 million of grant funding provided by KfW.