Rural road infrastructure as a facilitating channel towards rural development : community views and perceptions on the Kamanjab-Omakange-Okahao road project in North-Western Namibia
Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.
Rural development in most of the developing countries, Namibia included, entails making sure that every area is accessible in terms of road networks and telecommunications. Such infrastructure avoids the alienation of some areas or segregation and marginalisation of these same areas. Just as in many other African countries, a large portion of the Namibian population is located in the rural areas, yet development has not as of yet cascaded downstream to reach them. This research explores how rural road infrastructure development and facelift can transform the economic development of the rural folk. Most entrepreneurs in rural areas struggle to grow as they have challenges connecting to the markets, due to poor road infrastructure. The rural people in Tsandi and Opuwo constituencies in north-western Namibia desire to be easily connected to activity centres like schools, hospitals, etc. However, accessibility, especially during the rainy season, is a problem. The researcher used a quantitative data analysis method on data collected from rural residents and rural entrepreneurs via questionnaires, interviews and observation methods. These methods were combined in order to come up with a more reliable conclusion from the randomly selected sample, representing the population of the two constituencies in the north-western Namibia. Rural communities are prevented from accessing a number of resources because of poor road networks. For example, it is common that the rural residents get stale news with expiration dates ranging from one month up until three to four months. This report shall propagate various ways that can be employed to improve road infrastructure in the rural areas as well as unveil the benefits of such development to overall rural economic challenges. A large amount of literature was considered for review on this topic as well as field research in order to understand the findings on the topic and to come up with a sound conclusion containing worthwhile recommendations. It was observed that rural road infrastructure development plays a pivotal role in rural socio-economic development, which is usually measured by the Rural Access Index (RAI). As the road infrastructure improves, so too will the standard of living for rural people because they will have the convenience and ease of road travel to be able to access to hospitals, schools and other activity centres. In order to effectively unlock the full potential of rural road infrastructure and transport corridors, a new perspective for road infrastructure is required that takes into account lessons learnt and changes to the external environment.