Power in the regions
As part of efforts to improve the living standards of Namibian citizens living in rural areas, government’s Rural Electrification Programme will now strictly focus on providing government institutions such as schools and clinics with electricity.
The Rural Electrification Programme, which was first introduced after independence in 1990, aims to promote and facilitate the socio-economic development of rural areas and has to date provided 25% of the country’s marginalised areas with electricity, with higher priority given to government institutions.
Joseph Iita, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said that the Rural Electricity Distribution Master Plan – which is currently being updated – and the Off-grid Energisation Master Plan are the guiding documents for the project’s implementation.
Iita said that the new approach will only focus on providing electricity to rural schools and will cater only for government institutions such as schools, clinics, agricultural developments, public institutions and business centres. No electricity will be made available to households.
This will speed up the process of electrifying government buildings and will improve education and medical conditions in rural areas, although individual homesteads will be left. He said this is a socio-economic concern.
He however reassured the public that “the normal countrywide rural electrification program will resume after completion of the electrification of institutions.”
According to statistics provided by Iita to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Communication Technology, the Kavango and Omusati regions’ government schools have the highest number of schools with no electricity, Kavango region having 161 schools without electricity and Omusati 117.
The new approach will serve as a vehicle for development in rural areas as it will increase economic and commercial activities, improve quality of health and educational facilities as well as reduce unemployment rates through job creation and combat deforestation, Iite also added