By Anna Ingwafa ONDANGWA Ondangwa Mayor, Naftal Andimba, and Mayor Ulf Eriksson of FalkÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¶ping in Sweden signed a cooperation agreement on behalf of their respective municipalities at Ondangwa Town Council Chambers yesterday. The cooperation agreement between the two towns aims at sharing and helping each other to overcome the growing demands of urban services. The agreement concentrates on the development and improvement of solid waste management, improvement of the sanitary and water situation in and around Ondangwa, especially in informal settlements, improvement of the sewerage system, and other functions such as improving the local economic development of Ondangwa. Andimba said he was thrilled when he received news from FalkÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¶ping municipality that it had agreed to have a twinning agreement with his town. Andimba acknow-ledged the support rendered by Sweden to the people of Namibia during the liberation struggle. He said as the country struggles for economic development, the local authority is doing its best to make a meaningful contribution to economic emancipation. The mayor said 37 percent of the town’s population is unemployed. The town mainly derives its income from rates and taxes, the sale of land and service fees. “One of the great advantages we have is the availability of land. However, servicing such land is a major challenge. Compensating people to pave the way for urban development is another expensive exercise as well. We believe that in order to accelerate development, we have to have good internal and external relations with other municipalities where we can share knowledge and experiences and this is one step in that direction.” He said Ondangwa like all other local authorities in the Oshana Region, is not rich in mineral resources as in other regions of the country. Most of the people in Ondangwa depend on small-scale trading and subsistence farming. According to Andimba, it is only through this type of agreement that local economic development can be accelerated. Andimba outlined some of the challenges the town faces saying a lot of people were flocking into town in search of employment. “Many of the people in the north are relocating in search of employment and many of these people find themselves in informal areas and it is a burden and a challenge to the council to extend urban services to all the people. They also fail to secure the employment they had hoped for.” Andimba explained that the town has many advantages compared to other towns like an airport, railway station, vast land and also proximity to the lucrative Angolan market. “The huge challenge of this council is to turn these beautiful comparative advantages into competitive advantages. “We believe that we can do this by marketing our town, giving information about the advantages that are available and by consolidating whatever investment we have already through rendering proper services,” said Andimba. Eriksson said the agreement will see the two sister towns exchange experience and knowledge in the aforesaid areas. Eriksson described his town, which is situated in the western part of Sweden, as having big agricultural and industrial production. It is a third town in Europe that produces furniture for schools and offices. The two sister towns share the same population of about 32ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 000 inhabitants. They will promote friendship and understanding between their respective people as well as equality between men and women and between other groups in their societies. The delegation from Sweden has been in Ondangwa for the past three days and is expected to leave tomorrow. Ondangwa is one of the oldest towns in the northern part of the country. During colonial times, it had a huge a military presence. Ondangwa has another cooperation agreement with a town in Finland.