Sustainable urban development for a better life in Namibia’s informal settlements

Inclusive and Sustainable Urban Development (ISUD)

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  • Client

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country
  • Political sponsors


  • Runtime

    2020 to 2023

  • Products and expertise

    Governance and democracy


Namibia is in the middle of a wide-ranging and dynamic transition from a rural to an urban society. The country’s urban population has tripled since independence. By 2050, an estimated three-quarters of the population will live in towns.

People’s ways of life, choices and goals are changing, with development challenges such as poverty, education and health increasingly shifting to the towns.

For the most part, towns are growing as a result of the establishment, concentration and expansion of informal settlements. The occupants of the settlements lack secure land rights and live in poor conditions. Work by various actors to formalise the system is facing multiple challenges: important aspects apart from the costs include resilience, security, hygiene and the creation of local livelihoods.

Backed by its partner ministry and selected partner towns, the project pools the efforts of residents and professionals from various disciplines to jointly shape viable urban neighbourhoods as a positive vision and element of inclusive and sustainable urban development in Namibia.

Four people in giz baseball caps marking a spot on maps of an informal settlement. Copyright: GIZ


The project improves living and housing conditions in Namibia’s informal settlements.


Based on a multi-level approach, the project also directly assists five partner towns in their planning activities and works with the population of the informal settlements to develop functional and resilient urban neighbourhoods. Activities include providing policy advice to the Ministry of Urban Development, strengthening municipal capacity for urban planning and upgrading selected settlements through participatory planning.

Last update: July 2023

Four women looking at a map of the Donkerhoek settlement in Mariental; one woman is pointing out a spot. Copyright: GIZ