By Anna Ingwafa WINDHOEK The Governor of the Omaheke Region who recently returned from a familiarization tour in France says Namibia has much to learn from the decentralization process in that country. “Their decentralization policy has moved in the right direction and though Namibia is a developing country compared to France, we can learn more from them,” Governor Laura McLeod said. After undertaking a weeklong educational visit to France to familiarize herself with decentralization there, she said decentralization in France was way ahead and that information communication technology makes it easy for regional councils to converse. Regina Ndopu-Lubinda a Director of Centralization in the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Education Director for Rundu Region Sebastian Kantema, Theresia Basson, Director of Planning and Development of Hardap Region and Director of General Service at the Ministry of Education Borren Kama accompanied Governor McLeod to France. According to McLeod, the trip was an initiative of the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MoRLGH). The officials went there to exchange ideas as well as look at the experience of France’s decentralization policy. The MoRLGH is the responsible government line ministry to coordinate the overall decentralization process and close communication with all line ministries, regional councils and local authorities. The delegates also looked at the international cooperation between the regions and local authorities, whereby France is helping other regions in water and sanitation to mention but a few. “They are already running these program with other countries but not with Namibia, so we are still negotiating to benefit so that we can spearhead our decentralization process in the country,” McLeod said. The other reason for a visit in that country according to her was an agreement between Namibia and France in implementing the project “support to decentralization in Namibia”. The objective of the agreement is to support the process of decentralization in Namibia by strengthening the regional councils’ capacity building and to support the ministry in its process of implementing a communication network with different actors of decentralization. France in 2002 gave a financial grant by the Priority Fund amounting to 914 694, 10 Euros (approximately N$ 9 146 940) at the time to support decentralization in Namibia.
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