Towns used to grow by accident. Sure, the location usually made sense-someplace defensible, on a hill or an island, or somewhere near an extractable resource or the confluence of two transport routes. But what happened next was ad hoc.
The people who worked in the fort or the mines or the port or the warehouses needed places to eat, to sleep, to worship. Infrastructure threaded through the hustle and bustle—water, sewage, roads, trolleys, gas, electricity—in vast networks of improvisation.
Then Karibib became part of such natural human activity. It is three years since Lesley Goreseb took over as Chief Executive Officer and the town is setting the tone for the future with smart partnership and energy conscience development. The latest being a N$120m solar plant. We ask Lesley how he has amalgamated development and its people.
What does the launch of the Karibib Solar Park mean for the Karibib Town?
Karibib Town and in particular the Council is excited with the prospect of being one of the first towns to be involve in renewable energy provision. It is by no means the future in terms of clean energy.
The current agreement is bulk energy supply, but we as council want to look at through our agreement to provide Solar Energy to our Low and Ultra-Low residents of Karibib.
Explain the nature of this deal for the Town?
Karibib Town Council and Metdecci Energy Investment (Pty) Ltd agreed through a lease agreement for Council to avail 15Ha of land to buy into a profit sharing agreement, of which the agreement will be for a period of 25 years.
We are just proud that Karibib is one of the first Towns in Namibia supporting Renewable Energy and contributing towards Climate change. We also envisaged using the profit from the agreement to procure Solar panels for houses that will be occupied by Low and Ultra-Low income residents of Karibib.
What other future projects do you have envisaged for Karibib?
Karibib is uniquely situated, being the entry point to the Port of Walvis Bay but also the only Town where all Transport Corridors are passing at the same time as per the National Logistic Master Plan.
We therefore have the unique advantage where the Trans Orange, Trans Kalahari, Trans Caprivi, Trans Katwitwi, Trans Oshikango are meeting at the same time with currently around ±900 Trucks passing at the same time.
With this advantage, we have availed land for a Truck Port and a Container Terminal. Through consultations with Windhoek Vocational Training Centre (WVTC), Karibib availed land for the construction of an Institution of Higher learning. The Council also bought land from a private company to service 319 plots for Low and Ultra-Low Residents of Karibib.
The construction of a Shopping Centre is also envisaged, of which Woermann Brock may open its doors towards the end or beginning of next year. Through Private investment, a Marble Granite Company will open its doors towards the end of the year, employing ±300 Residents of Karibib.
We are busy establishing a site to avail 35 erven for Industrial and Business purposes. We will also establish site for small scale agricultural purposes with erf sizes being from 5 to 10Ha.
Being on the Power Grid as this is a big achievement. What does it mean for your relationship with foreign investors?
Karibib Town Council has been politically and administratively very stable, the idea of having an excellent working relationship between political leadership and administration has been a draw card for investors to come and invest in Karibib.
Karibib become a destination of choice as it was first a political battle ground within the Council, but the previous councillors brought in much needed political stability, thanks to the former Mayor, Hon. Ipinge and MC Chairperson, Milton Ya Otto and the current Councillors under the Leadership of His Worship the Mayor, Hon. Titus Nabot, the Town is aiming for prosperity.
Speaking of Investors, what challenges do you wish to avoid with future investors?
The challenges that my office is experiencing is that some investors come to Council just to acquire land either for speculation or guarantee for other projects.
We therefore created a development agreement, which will focus on implementation timelines and the company must prove that it has the necessary financial means to start and complete the envisaged project.
What advice do you have for those seeking to invest in Karibib?
Karibib will become the future distribution hub of Namibia, including the land-locked-countries of Southern Africa, therefore the opportunity is there to set up shop in terms of Manufacturing and storage facilities.
Are you impressed with the pace of development?
Yes, because you must be patient if you want development, starting with the planning process and having the political support and qualified staff compliment, then all aspects of implementation will come into place, which is where we are now.