Smart partnership graces Keetmans

Namibian and Finnish companies and research partners this week are launching a project at the national university of science and technology in Windhoek for the first smart community partnership at the idle town of Keetmanshoop.
“Smart Community” is a solution for holistic community development, initiated by a group of Finnish and Namibian partners. The concept aims at responding to the challenges of rapid urbanization in Namibia. At the occasion, the partners will sign a memorandum of understanding on piloting the project with the Keetmanshoop municipality and local community leaders.
It will also promote local economic and social development and value creation in an environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable way for the immediate community.
The business consortium consists of Lithon Developers and its four Finnish partners (Aihio Arkkitehdit, A-Insinöörit, Earth House and Sopimusvuori), representing expertise in architecture, town planning, engineering, construction and health and social services. The consortium collaborates with First Capital Housing Fund.
Smart Community integrates service provision, community building aspects and employment creation to housing. The development process will start with Keetmanshoop Municipality. The concrete result of the development process will be establishing the first pilot community in Namibia.
The process involves an engagement approach aiming at including residents, service providers, officials, policy makers and businesses, going beyond traditional participatory methods in urban planning.
The research partners include Namibian University of Science and Technology, University of Tampere and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. The research (2016-2018) have partners funding it, as well as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes).
Her Excellency the Finnish Ambassador to Namibia, Anne Saloranta and the Chief Executive Officer of the Keetmanshoop Municipality, Desmond Basson. A senior research from the University of Tampere Lic.Sc. Mika Raunio will also be present together with Sami Juola.