Private investors and even government ministries are gradually setting up shop at Nkurenkuru – the administrative and business centre of Kavango West.
Business people are seizing the opportunity presented by the strategically located settlement that was proclaimed a town in September 2006. It currently has some 15,000 residents with varying levels of disposable income in addition to existing opportunities offered in Angola.
The CEO of Nkurenkuru, Sindimba Petrus Sikongo, is upbeat about the prospects of the town.
“Some of the major investments in town are the construction of Nkurenkuru Shopping Centre, which is housing USAVE [Shoprite], Style, Pep Stores, a salon, boutiques, pharmacy, private doctors unit and many others.Various shops, such as Woermann Brock, Checkers Stores, Nkurenkuru Supermarket, Oluno Wholesale and Supermarket are available,” he noted.
Namibia’s largest privately-owned institution of higher learning, the International University of Management (IUM), has also invested tens of millions in a new campus that is already in operation here, bringing tertiary education closer to the people of Kavango West and nearby Angola.
“Two more buildings were completed last year and are now housing private doctors consulting rooms, the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Finance, Furnmart Stores and NATIS Office, respectively.
“The other complex houses a Namibia Fish Consumption outlet, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and Welwitchia University (Nursing School). The construction of IUM Nkurenkuru Campus, is also currently under way.
“We currently have two fuel stations and two banks (Bank Windhoek and Standard Bank), as well as the establishment of two factories in town (a brick factory and zinc manufacturing),” Sikongo informed New Era.
“These investments have contributed extensively towards the development of our town and the creation of employment amongst our people, especially the youth. It is difficult to determine the [scale of] investment for now, however we acknowledge that it might be in the millions,” he said on the sidelines of Vice President Dr Nickey Iyambo’s consultative meeting with Kavango West Governor Sirkka Ausiku on Thursday.
Despite the acute shortage of accommodation at Nkurenkuru that also affects members of the regional council and the town council, Sikongo was optimistic and said: “As a council we are determined that this will be overcome.”
Nkurenkuru Town Council needs about N$250 million annually for the next three years to fulfil its statutory mandate to provide municipal services and housing at the town. Says the CEO: “This looks to be huge amount, but it must be noted that land delivery is a costly exercise, starting from planning, EIAs, designing, surveying (pegging) and the provision of municipal services.
“The council is also in need of an emergency service station that is being estimated at around N$5 million, hence being the capital of the Kavango West Region. We are also in need of a modern open market, estimated to cost about N$20 million,” Sikongo observed.
“The cost of doing business in Nkurenkuru is reasonable and conducive for various business types. Applicants are required to apply through an application form. Residential plots cost only N$25 per square metre and N$50 per square metre in prime areas close to the river, while business plots cost between N$45 and N$50.
“Land which is not planned, surveyed and serviced can be sold subject to negotiation and ministerial approval. We are now planning to bring all the municipal services, such as water, electricity, and sewers to all our residential places,” he said.
Nkurenkuru is strategically located on the banks of the perennial Kavango River, hence is conducive to tourism, hospitality and holiday resorts. The town, situated approximately 145 kilometres west of Rundu, is also growing rapidly, being the regional capital of Kavango West Region.
It became the new regional capital for Kavango West Region in 2013 when the then Kavango Region was divided into two regions: Kavango East and Kavango West.