The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, has called on local authorities to lead local economic development by creating an enabling, conducive environment for both investors and job seekers.

He made the call during the official opening of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) Indaba held at Luderitz. 

The Indaba aims to unlock investment, partnership, networking, and business opportunities for local authorities. 

The four-day indaba is being held under the theme 'promoting local economic development through inclusive strategic planning, innovation, and diversification of revenue streams'. 

"I urge all of us to be champions of economic development with boldness in our vision, realisticity in our actions, and compassion in our services. Our commitment today shapes the future of generations to come; therefore, let us remember that our decisions will greatly impact the lives, dreams, and aspirations of those who come after us. There would be another generation," said Uutoni.

The absence of some local authority representation at the Indaba did not augur well with the minister. 

"You know events of this nature are very important—important in the sense you're here to learn about the politics of the economy, not the politics of who's going to be mayor at the end of the year. It's the politics of the economy; that's why we say political economy. And now some of them are missing, maybe because of certain challenges they are not, but maybe some are because of political reasons. My dear brothers and sisters, since those years, you're still stuck in those old ways of thinking about politics. We are the generation to prepare a strong foundation for the generation to come, and it's through local economic development." 

Samuel !Oe-Amseb, president of ALAN, appealed to local authority council office bearers to unite and resist factional infighting for the sake of those they serve. 

"We have a bigger role to play to be remembered as a team that serves the residents; our energy and widows need to work more jointly to find amicable solutions for issues of common interest, and the common interest why we become councillors is that I am going to that local authority to deliver."

Also speaking at the occasion was ||Kharas Governor Aletha Frederick, who said that "the ||Kharas Region has a rich diversity of resources and talent, waiting to be harnessed for economic growth by diversifying our revenue stream across sectors such as tourism, agriculture, mining, and renewable energy. We can reduce dependency on any single industry and build a more resilient economy."

Of the 57 local authorities operating in Namibia, 46 are represented at the Indaba.

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Luqman Cloete