Profiling Our Regions [column]

THE purpose of this article is to inform the nation about the in-depth regional profiles that were released by the Namibia Statistics Agency recently.

By now we should all be in agreement that statistics play a vital role in our lives. They are vital because they influence and guide our actions. More importantly, they also allow us to monitor and evaluate our progress. The detailed statistical regional profiles provide vital information to policy makers, ministries and agencies, as well as the private sector and individuals.

They contain a wide range of indicators on population characteristics, household and housing conditions. They further provide detailed information on age and sex composition, marital status, education, literacy, economic activity, orphan-hood, fertility and disability. They also provide information on household sizes, housing amenities, ownership and the quality of housing in our regions. All these indicators are provided from regional to constituency level.

What this practically means is that we are now able to compare all our regions and each and every constituency. For example, the information that we have tells us that Namibia has a population of 2.1 million. The Khomas Region is estimated to have the highest population of about 342 141 people. The Ohangwena, Omusati and the Kavango regions follow with 245 446, 243 166 and 223 352 people respectively. On the other hand, the least populated regions of our country are the Omaheke, Karas and Hardap regions, which have a population of 71 233, 77 421 and 79 507 respectively. Our figures also indicate that 80 percent of our households have access to safe water, 49 percent do not have toilet facilities, 42 percent use electricity for lighting and a good 54 percent still use woodcharcoal for cooking. The Erongo profile shows us that 96 percent have access to safe drinking water and 81 percent use electricity for lighting. Furthermore, in the Erongo Region, only 11 percent have no toilet facilities and only 15 percent use woodcharcoal for cooking. In comparison, only 52 percent of households have safe drinking water in the Oshana Region, whilst 88 percent make use of wood and charcoal for cooking. As said before, the benefit of these profiles is that they contain information up to constituency level. For example, if we take the Otjozondjupa Region, we see that the total population of the region is 143 903. The population of the Grootfontein constituency is estimated at 24 878, the Okahandja constituency at 24 451, Okakarara constituency 22 747, Omatako constituency 17 619, Otavi 12 488, Otjiwarongo Rural has 31 813 and the Tsumkwe constituency a total population of 9907. The literacy rate for the Otjozondjupa Region is 83 percent. The Grootfontein constituency has a literacy rate of 80 percent, Okahandja 91 percent, Okakarara 81 percent and Omatako constituency 84 percent. Comparing this to the Otavi, Otjiwarongo Rural and Tsumkwe constituencies shows us that the literacy rate is 73, 90 and 58 percent respectively. The same can be applied to all regions and constituencies in the country. With the release of these regional profiles we are more than certain that the NSA is playing its rightful role in providing statistics that are needed for relevant evidence-based planning. Get your own soft copy at www.nsa.org.na, whilst we disseminate hard copies throughout the country.

This column will appear on a bi-monthly basis and aims to bring the NSA and statistics closer to the people. – Iipumbu Sakaria is the Deputy Director for Strategic Communications at the NSA.

Source : New Era