The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, says the growth of local businesses and their ability to effectively participate in trade at local, continental, and international levels depend on a favourable environment established by governments to foster business development.
Uutoni said this during the commemoration of Africa Day of Decentralisation, Local Governance, and Local Development held in Okahao, located in the Omusati Region.
This year's commemoration was held under the theme "The Contribution of African Subnational and Local Governments in the Formation of the African Continental Free Trade Area."
The day was set aside for Africa to contemplate the advancements its member states have achieved and continue to achieve in upholding and disseminating the principles and values of decentralisation, local governance, and local development.
"As we reflect on our decentralisation journey, we are mindful that our decentralised system still needs nurturing and perfection before we can experience the full benefits thereof. This calls for enhanced cooperation and the unwavering commitment of all stakeholders, especially ministries that have to decentralise functions and corresponding resources, as well as regional and local authority councils as the recipients, to re-commit and do everything in their power to accelerate the pace of decentralisation."
Uutoni also emphasised that Namibia's decentralisation policy is founded on the principles of cooperation and collaboration between the central government and sub-national governments.
He highlighted the need for synchronisation and coordination in formulating and executing policies and strategies across all levels of government and society.
"As such, let this day serve to encourage us and our sub-national governments to re-commit ourselves to strengthening public-private dialogue with the local communities and businesses and to addressing any barriers to investment and trade starting at local levels."
He stated that the African Continental Free Trade Area presents a remarkable opportunity for Namibia to fulfil its national development goals and make a contribution to the growth of the African continent.
Uutoni then urged the majority of attendees, who were learners, to consider vocational training as a path to creating jobs for themselves and others rather than solely seeking employment.