How Namibia’s housing shortage became a humanitarian crisis

The Shack Dwellers Federation estimates that more than 500,000 Namibians and around 30 percent of Windhoek’s population live in makeshift shacks in informal settlements. Photo: The Namibian

Identifying the problem

An aerial view of Windhoek depicts the rapid spread of informal settlements on the northern outskirts of the city. Photo: New Era

Income inequality

Growing number of households — and shacks

Rapid urbanisation

Jobless graduates demonstrate at a traffic light in Windhoek. The number of unemployed youth between the ages of 20 and 24 reached over 54 percent in 2017. Photo: New Era

Unemployment and low incomes

The Namibia Labour Force Survey 2016 Report conducted by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) shows that 34.5% of youth aged 15–34 years are Not in Education, Employment, or Training. Photo: The Economist

Land costs and bottlenecks in supply

Land auctions

Private developers drive up property prices

Role of the banks

The failure of market economics

Residents queue to collect water at a standpipe in Havana, Windhoek. The lack of adequate water and ablution facilities in the informal settlements has contributed to the spread of epidemics such as cholera, polio and Hepatitus E in recent years. Photo: The Namibian

From a housing to a humanitarian crisis

There is no land scarcity

Conclusion: give land to the people

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Writer, reporter, activist

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Jade Lennon

Jade Lennon

Writer, reporter, activist

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