21 research outputs found

    No. 14: The State of Food Insecurity in Windhoek, Namibia

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    AFSUN recently conducted a survey of poor urban households in eleven major cities in Southern Africa to better understand the seriousness of the urban food insecurity situation. This report looks in detail at the results for Windhoek and seeks to answer one central question, that is, why do the urban poor in Namibia’s capital generally appear to be better off than the urban poor in most of the other ten cities where the survey was conducted and why, at the same time, does Windhoek contain some of the most food insecure households in the region? As a city of migrants, Windhoek’s case also presents the opportunity to examine the relationship between migration and urban food security in more depth. Among the key findings is that access to food, which depends on incomes and food pricing, is critical in Windhoek, where food availability is not an issue. What is required is a systematic national and city strategy for reducing the high levels of food insecurity amongst the urban poor in general and in informal settlements in particular

    No. 48: The Quality of Immigration and Citizenship Services in Namibia

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    The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration (MHAI) in Namibia has sole responsibility for implementing and managing migration policy and legislation; the registration of births, deaths and marriages; and the issuing of identity documents, passports and emergency travel documents. The Ministry also manages visa and permanent and temporary residence applications and approves work permits. In 2005, the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) was asked by the Ministry to conduct a systematic survey of the quality of services offered to citizens and non-citizens (the Services Quality Survey or SQS). The main objectives of the SQS were as follows: • To compare the opinions of officials about the level and quality of services with those of the clients receiving these services; • To identify the type of problems and delays that occur in the delivery of services in Namibia and why they occur; • To determine the extent to which the level and quality of services provided meet the expectations of clients; • To develop a set of recommendations to improve the level and quality of service delivery. The SQS interviewed a total number of 11 3 officials and 322 clients. Separate structured questionnaires were administered to officials and clients. The interviews with the officials concentrated on their familiarity with public service regulations, job satisfaction, knowledge of grievance and disciplinary procedures, information on the MHAI and attitudes towards the reporting of misconduct. The questionnaire for the clients focused on their knowledge of the functions of the MHAI, the quality of services and their experiences accessing these services. Interview sites included regional offices, land borders and the major international airport. Four research teams covered nine of the 13 regions in the country. The major findings of the SQS in relation to the job satisfaction of Ministry employees are as follows: Officials are clearly better informed than clients about the role, functions and range of services offered by the Ministry. Levels of familiarity with core services were relatively high in both cases, though it is surprising that not all officials knew about the full range of responsibilities of the MHAI. Only about half of the officials and 30% of its clients seemed to know about the Ministry’s role in granting Namibian citizenship. Other responsibilities about which clients knew very little included registering marriages, deporting undocumented migrants or processing refugee applications. Less than a third of the officials knew about the Ministry’s role in the refugee protection process. Ministry officials do not have sufficient knowledge of the key pieces of legislation governing their Ministry: the Public Service Act 13 of 1995 (a third were unfamiliar with this legislation); the Immigration Act 7 of 1993 (again, a third were unfamiliar) and the Refugees Act 2 of 1999 (two-thirds unfamiliar). Although two thirds of the officials said they were acquainted with the Public Service Act, the SQS showed that they were not conversant with many of its basic service principles. The SQS questioned officials about their familiarity with the MHAI’s Strategic Plan, Transformation Unit, IT Plan and Employment Equity Plan. Only two thirds (64%) were aware of the Strategic Plan. A smaller proportion was aware of the other structures. Just 36% said that the Ministry had an employment equity plan and only 30% were aware of the Transformation Unit (30%). Nearly 60% of the officials had not attended any training programmes or workshops to learn about the laws and regulations governing the Public Service and/or the Ministry. Of the trained officials, 96% stated that the training was useful/very useful in helping them perform their duties. Levels of job satisfaction amongst Ministry employees are relatively high. At the same time, many officials were skeptical about the fairness of decisions concerning promotions and salary increases. Nearly 60% felt that they were unfair and had nothing to do with rules and guidelines. Many officials were also skeptical about their career path in the MHIA. While 56% said that they had a strong career path, 39% disagreed. Dissatisfaction with remuneration was the most cited impediment to effective job performance (mentioned by 60% of officials). Other frequently-cited complaints included work overload (49%), poor working environment (41%), not enough computers (39%), poor management (38%), not enough equipment/stationery (35%) and little or no career mobility (33%). Red tape, gender and racial discrimination were not seen as serious obstacles (4%, 6% and 9% respectively). This report also examines client perceptions of service quality offered by the Ministry and compared these with the perceptions of officials. The major findings are as follows: Overall, the Ministry is seen as being more efficient than it was during the apartheid era. Around half strongly approved of the way the MHAI had performed its mandate in the previous year but as many as a third disapproved of the performance of the Ministry. Two-thirds of the clients were happy or satisfied with the level of service they received at the office on the day of the interview. More detailed analysis showed that these levels of satisfaction extended to a whole variety of factors including office infrastructure, quality and efficiency of service, and personal interactions with MHAI officials. Some elements – particularly the cost of services and the wait times for documentation – were seen as more problematic. In general, there is a relatively consistent pattern with two-thirds of clients happy and a third unhappy with MHAI performance. Officials clearly have a better perception of the quality of service offered by them and their colleagues than do clients. On most measures of service quality officials gave higher scores than their clients. The difference was particularly marked with regard to the demeanor and helpfulness of officials themselves. Overall, both clients and officials displayed considerable disapproval of behaviour that could be viewed as inappropriate, discriminatory or corrupt. Officials consistently ranked such behaviour as more deserving of punishment than clients, except on the issue of acceptance of a “gift” in recognition of good work for a service already rendered. The majority in both groups felt this was an acceptable response to good service. While there is a widespread media and public perception that MHIA officials are corrupt, few of the clients interviewed in this study said they had first-hand experience of corruption. The overwhelming majority (90%) said they had never been put in such a position. The remaining 10% who had been involved in such a misdemeanor had paid a bribe to obtain a travel document, to avoid punishment for overstaying visa, to avoid deportation or repatriation, to obtain a work permit, obtain a residence permit or to attain refugee status. In contrast to the clients, a majority of officials (71%) reported that they had witnessed a bribe being paid or solicited during the year prior to the survey. At the same time, most officials (81%) were adamant that they had not personally accepted a bribe. A few officials reported that they had been silenced by their superiors concerning the reporting of inappropriate or illegal activities and 5% claimed that they had been asked by their superiors to participate in illegal activities. In general, therefore, there seems to be a major gap between public perceptions and actual levels of corruption. However, it is possible that neither clients nor officials were completely honest about this highly sensitive issue. The results of the SQS in Namibia leads SAMP to make the following recommendations: On most measures, two-thirds of clients were satisfied with the level of service provided. This means that there is still room for improvement. Any government ministry, particularly one whose primary role is customer service, should strive to achieve total satisfaction. While customer dissatisfaction with services was much lower than expected, there was more general concern with certain key issues such as the physical infrastructure at some offices and the delays experienced by clients in getting documentation. These concerns require immediate attention; Officials and clients have different opinions about the level and quality of service offered by the MHAI. Officials clearly have a more positive view than do clients of themselves and their Ministry. This needs to be brought to the attention of all officials. It is critical that employees of the service know that their clients do not think as highly of the MHIA as they do. Otherwise complacency is likely to set in. It is encouraging that the majority of clients were relatively satisfied with the level of personal service they received from individual employees of the Ministry. This suggests that there is a good service ethic amongst employees. On the other hand, it is important to address the concerns of those clients who remain dissatisfied with the level of personal service. There is clearly a major gap between public perceptions and those of these clients and officials on issues of integrity, misconduct and corruption. The reasons for this gap need to be addressed. A service ministry should not have the taint of any kind of scandal or corruption attached to it. One hypothesis from this study might be that the Ministry is being unfairly targeted by the media and perhaps blowing isolated cases of corruption out of all proportion. The only other explanation is that the media and public are correct and that these SQS informants were not entirely honest in their answers. The MHIA needs to have structures and procedures in place to transparently and effectively deal with all cases of wrong-doing; to facilitate identification by officials of corrupt practices without fear of reprisal; to encourage the public to complain and to deal effectively with such complaints. Official knowledge and awareness of the legislation which governs their own Ministry and the internal roles, regulations and procedures of the Ministry is poor. There is an obvious need for more training of officials along the lines of the Programme in International Migration Law and Management International instituted by SAMP in partnership with Wits University. This course could be offered in Namibia to many officials at reasonable cost. Clients are not well informed about the range of services offered by MHAI. Education could be provided in a number of ways; for example, through newspapers, radio, posters and leaflets. In addition, clients are not informed about the work of the departments within the Ministry. No annual report is published and circulated to clients to inform them how resources are used and how much services cost, or to provide information on staffing issues, equipment delivery, services and so on. The report should also include how well the departments are performing, and whether the Ministry has kept to its undertakings within established timelines. Current negative media reporting on the delivery of services may improve if the Ministry implements strategies to inform the public more vigorously of the services offered and the rights of clients to access these services. In other words, the Ministry has to be more proactive in order for it to revive its reputation in the media

    Food deserts and household food insecurity in the informal settlements of Windhoek, Namibia

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    Includes bibliographical references.Rapid urbanization and rising urban poverty characterize much of Sub-Saharan Africa in the 21st Century. Africa's urban transition provides the context within which this thesis examines the causes and consequences of poverty and food insecurity in the growing informal settlements of Windhoek, Namibia. Rapid urbanization in Windhoek has been accompanied by limited industrialization with few job opportunities in the formal employment sector. Moreover, the informal sector has not been able to absorb the ever rising volume of migrants from the rural areas, increasing urban poverty and food insecurity among the most vulnerable group in the urban environment: female -centred households in informal settlements. The informal settlements in Windhoek are an ideal site in which to examine the struggle for food security and other basic needs by poor women. Despite the accumulated literature on the food security of female-centred households, much of this work has focused on the rural sector and has paid little attention to the contribution of women to food security in the urban areas, and the strategies they adopt to eke out a living. This study combines qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to understand the factors that determine the food security status of female-centred households and to explore their strategies to access food and build resilience to food insecurity. Firstly, the thesis demonstrates that female-centred households in the informal settlements are poorer and more food insecure than all other types of household. Secondly, these households source food from a variety of sources including supermarkets, the informal food economy and rural-urban food transfers. Urban agriculture is completely unimportant as a food source. Thirdly, formal food sources such as supermarkets may offer cheaper quality food but they are located too far from the informal settlements for regular use. Fourthly, female-centred households rely heavily on the informal food sources, both as consumers and as a source of income for their own households. The informal food economy is dominated by women who find it extremely difficult to access formal sector jobs. Fifthly, food borrowing, sharing of food with neighbours and consumption of food provided by neighbours are increasingly important food sources in coping with food shortages. This thesis also addresses the broader question of whether the informal settlements of this African city qualify as "food deserts" and whether this concept (developed to describe inner-city neighbourhoods in Europe and North America) helps to shed light on the food security situation in Namibia. The thesis concludes that the concept needs to be redefined to be appropriate to African realities. The fundamental problem in the African city is not lack of spatial access to formal sector outlets such as supermarkets. Supermarkets are distant but the informal economy ensures that sufficient and diverse food is available in the informal settlements. In Windhoek's food deserts, as one respondent noted, the problem is not food but income

    No. 08: The Urban Food System of Windhoek, Namibia

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    The surprisingly high rate of supermarket patronage in low-income areas of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital and largest city, is at odds with conventional wisdom that supermarkets in African cities are primarily patronized by middle and high-income residents and therefore target their neighbourhoods. What is happening in Namibia and other Southern African countries that make supermarkets so much more accessible to the urban poor? What are they buying at supermarkets and how frequently do they shop there? Further, what is the impact of supermarket expansion on informal food vendors? This report, which presents the findings of the South African Supermarkets in Growing African Cities project research in 2016-2017 in Windhoek, looks at the evidence and tries to answer these questions and others. The research and policy debate on the relationship between the supermarket revolution and food security is also discussed. Here, the issues include whether supermarket supply chains and procurement practices mitigate rural food insecurity through providing new market opportunities for smallholder farmers; the impact of supermarkets on the food security and consumption patterns of residents of African cities; and the relationship between supermarket expansion and governance of the food system, particularly at the local level

    No. 26: The Supermarket Revolution and Food Security in Namibia

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    The surprisingly high rate of supermarket patronage in low-income areas of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital and largest city, is at odds with conventional wisdom that supermarkets in African cities are primarily patronized by middle and high-income residents and therefore target their neighbourhoods. What is happening in Namibia and other Southern African countries that make supermarkets so much more accessible to the urban poor? What are they buying at supermarkets and how frequently do they shop there? Further, what is the impact of supermarket expansion on informal food vendors? This report, which presents the findings from the South African Supermarkets in Growing African Cities project research in 2016-2017 in Windhoek, looks at the evidence and tries to answer these questions and others. The research and policy debate on the relationship between the supermarket revolution and food security is also discussed. Here, the issues include whether supermarket supply chains and procurement practices mitigate rural food insecurity through providing new market opportunities for smallholder farmers; the impact of supermarkets on the food security and consumption patterns of residents of African cities; and the relationship between supermarket expansion and governance of the food system, particularly at the local level

    No. 23: Inclusive Growth and the Informal Food Sector in Windhoek, Nambia

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    This report presents the results of the first comprehensive survey of Windhoek’s rapidly-growing informal food sector. As such, it aims to shed light on the food system of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital and largest urban centre. The report is part of a research programme on food security in cities of the Global South by AFSUN and the Hungry Cities Partnership (HCP) and builds on earlier publications on Windhoek’s food system including: - The State of Food Insecurity in Windhoek, Namibia (Pendleton et al 2012); - The Supermarket Revolution and Food Security in Namibia (Nickanor et al 2017); - Urban Informal Food Deserts in Windhoek, Namibia (Nickanor et al 2018); - Supermarkets and Informal Food Vendors in Windhoek, Namibia (Nickanor et al 2019); and - Containing the Informal Food Sector in Windhoek, Namibia (Kazembe et al 2019). To date, most studies of the informal food sector in Namibia have relied on national surveys, in-depth interviews with a small sample of food vendors or indirect information on patronage of the informal food sector in household food security surveys. The latest HCP household survey showed that the informal food sector had expanded dramatically over the last decade and that around two-thirds of Windhoek households obtained some of their food from informal vendors (Nickanor et al 2017). Rates and frequency of food sourcing from the informal sector were especially high in the city’s large informal settlements (Nickanor et al 2019). For example, nearly 60% of surveyed households in informal settlements regularly patronize informal vendors operating in the city’s open markets. Just over one-quarter buy food from informal street vendors and 14% from informal tuck shops (sometimes called spazas) (Nickanor et al 2019). However, this is the first representative in-depth survey of food vendors themselves. A total of 470 vendors were interviewed for the study by researchers from the Department of Population and Statistics at the University of Namibia using the common HCP informal vendor survey instrument

    The informal food sector and cohabitation with supermarkets in Windhoek, Namibia

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    Much of the literature on urban food systems has focused on supermarket expansion and their ability to reach urban consumers. However, the current pace of urbanisation and rising urban poverty has been accompanied by a major upsurge in informality and a growing role for the informal food sector. One of the persistent arguments in the supermarkets literature is that the expansion of modern retail undermines the informal food sector. Critics of this argument suggest that there are two conditions under which this may not occur: first, when there is spatial differentiation with supermarkets servicing higher income areas and the informal sector targeting low-income areas. And second, when there is market segmentation when the formal and informal sectors focus on the sale of different product types. This paper examines the case of Windhoek, Namibia, which has undergone a major supermarket revolution in the last two decades

    Informal food deserts and household food insecurity in Windhoek, Namibia

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    nformal settlements in rapidly-growing African cities are urban and peri-urban spaces with high rates of formal unemployment, poverty, poor health outcomes, limited service provision, and chronic food insecurity. Traditional concepts of food deserts developed to describe North American and European cities do not accurately capture the realities of food inaccessibility in Africa’s urban informal food deserts. This paper focuses on a case study of informal settlements in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, to shed further light on the relationship between informality and food deserts in African cities. The data for the paper was collected in a 2016 survey and uses a sub-sample of households living in shack housing in three informal settlements in the city. Using various standard measures, the paper reveals that the informal settlements are spaces of extremely high food insecurity. They are not, however, food deprived. The proximity of supermarkets and open markets, and a vibrant informal food sector, all make food available. The problem is one of accessibility. Households are unable to access food in sufficient quantity, quality, variety, and with sufficient regularity

    The threat of Covid-19 on food security: A modelling perspective of scenarios in the informal settlements in Windhoek

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    Due to the heterogeneity among households across locations, predicting the impacts of stay-at-home mitigation and lockdown strategies for COVID-19 control is crucial. In this study, we quantitatively assessed the effects of the Namibia government’s lockdown control measures on food insecurity in urban informal settlements with a focus on Windhoek, Namibia. We developed three types of conditional regression models to predict food insecurity prevalence (FIP) scenarios incorporating household frequency of food purchase (FFP) as the impacting factor, based on the Hungry Cities Food Matrix. Empirical data were derived from the 2017 African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN) Windhoek study and applied univariate probit and bivariate partial observability models to postulate the relation between food insecurity and FFP within the context of stay-at-home disease mitigation strategy. The findings showed that FFP was positively correlated with the prevalence of food insecurity (r = 0.057, 95% CI: 0.0394, 0.085). Daily purchases portrayed a survivalist behaviour and were associated with increased food insecurity (coeff = 0.076, p = 0.05)

    HCP report no. 8

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    This report updates previously published AFSUN Report No. 26 : The Supermarket Revolution and Food Security in Namibia with photographs.Rapid urbanization in Africa has been accompanied by a major transformation in national and local food systems. This in-depth report on South African supermarkets in Namibia focuses on the drivers of supermarket expansion, and corporate strategies of supermarket chains in relation to the rest of Africa. As well, it examines implications for the accessibility (geographical and economic) of urban consumers to these outlets, and the impact of supermarket expansion on the informal food economy. The growth and consolidation of supermarkets has involved food system transformation in the absence of food system planning.Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC
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