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Director of Ceremonies, 

Governor of the Kunene region; Honourable Marius Sheya and all Honourable Governors present here today 

Honourable Chairperson of the Kunene Regional Council, and Sesfontein Constituency Councilor, Honourable Hendrick Gaobaeb 

Honourable Councilor of Khorixas Constituency: Honourable Sebastian! !Gobs. 

Chief Regional Officer of the Kunene Regional Council, Mr. George P Kambseb 

Executive Director of the Ministry of Environment Forestry and Tourism, Mr. Teofilus Nghitila 

Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia, Mr. Benedict Libanda 

Traditional Authorities 

Chairperson of the Fransfontein Community Garden 

Distinguished guests. 

Members of the media. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Let me start by thanking you all for responding to my invitation to this historic handover event and realization of some of the IREMA project outcomes. A special express of gratitude is extended to the Fransfontein Settlement and Swartbooi Traditional Authority for hosting this event. 

In preparation for the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP27) to be hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism as the National Focal point to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) rounds up its effort towards climate adaptation mechanism being implemented through multiple entities in Namibia. 

This follows the ratification of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995 at the Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris by the Namibian government. The Ministry of Environment Forestry and Tourism is implementing the Paris Agreement as the national designated entity on this Convention. The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) through the Ministry, has been accredited to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for accessing multilateral funding on behalf of the Government. 

Today, the 31st of October 2022 will become another milestone cerebrating yet a successful story of handing over several climate change initiatives for the past four weeks simultaneously. It is, therefore, my distinct pleasure to be present here today and officially handover, yet another successful climate change adaptation interventions implemented by the Environmental Investment Fund in Kunene region. 

Ladies and gentlemen 

The Environmental Investment Fund through the IREMA project invested more than Twelve Million (N$ 12 million) to upgrade the Fransfontein Community Garden. The project investment has changed the food production landscape in Fransfontein, with a total of 10 community members employed and more than 1700 people as direct and indirect beneficiaries in Fransfontein area. 

The Fransfontein Community Garden covers an area of 16 hectares and is focused on both horticultural and dryland crop production. As we can all see, this garden has been tremendously upgraded in terms of solar-powered electric fence, water infrastructure which includes construction of a four hundred cubic meters (400m3) reservoir, rehabilitation of two boreholes to augment the fountain, installation of a solar plant, installation of drip irrigation system and an Automated Weather Station. 

To ensure sustainability of this project, a mentorship programme has been developed targeting the beneficiaries, Agricultural Extension Officers, Farmers Associations, Traditional Authorities and Kunene Regional Council Representatives and other stakeholders. 

Furthermore, the IREMA project has rehabilitated nine (9) boreholes in Fransfontein area at the tune of more than two point four million (N$2.4) which is expected to promote community health and ease access to water for both human and livestock consumption. As such about 1500 people and 10 000 livestock are expected to have access to reliable water supply infrastructure. In addition, community members have established home-based gardens that can greatly improve their livelihoods as well as strengthen household food security. 

I am further informed that, the project procured One Thousand and Fifty-Five (1055) goats of which 420 were distributed to 20 vulnerable farmers in 2020, and today we are witnessing yet another handover over of 630 goats to 29 identified farmers in Kunene region. The total cost for this intervention is One Million and Seven Hundred Namibian Dollars (N$1.7 million). 

I take immense pleasure to note that our national resource mobilization efforts on climate finance are now rewarding and bearing fruits. The handover of these productive community projects is a strong demonstration that such resources are reaching the intended beneficiaries. In addition, it shows that Namibia is on track to achieve the national environmental agenda and meet her international obligations, while simultaneously achieving her objective of improving community livelihoods. 

Ladies and gentlemen 

It is our interest as a National Designated Authority to the Green Climate Fund to see the GCF projects such as IREMA Kunene Project bearing fruits and improving community livelihoods. I therefore strongly encourage the project beneficiaries and the local leadership to own these interventions. Projects of this kind are meant to boost the local economies and create sustainable jobs opportunities particularly for the vulnerable groups such as women, youth and marginalized communities. 

I have a special message for youth the of Fransfontein, Kunene Region and Namibia at large. Inevitably, young people account for a large percentage of our population. According to the Trading Economic, global macro models and analyst shows that Namibia Youth Unemployment rate stands at 49. Our youth are faced with many hurdles in trying to earn a living. It is unfortunate that our youth don’t perceive agriculture as a remunerative or prestigious profession. Unless they find meaningful economic opportunities and attractive environments in rural areas, they migrate to cities. This trend does not only contribute to increasing the phenomenon of over-urbanization and unemployment in urban areas, but it also affects the national food production systems. Investing in rural youth is therefore key to enhancing agricultural productivity, boosting rural economies, and ensuring food security. 

I therefore urge the youth of Fransfontein to proudly safeguard this investment and grab this golden opportunity to transform their livelihood. In the same vein, I am urging the relevant stakeholders to re-engage youth in agriculture, particularly in terms of providing financial support, skills-transfer and transform subsistence farming into commercial enterprises. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I am extremely delighted that today I am officially handing over the Fransfontein Community Garden, 630 goats, nine (9) rehabilitated boreholes, the newly installed Automated Weather Station and 150 fuel -efficient stoves to the communities of Kunene Region. To this end, the project has employed 10 local people. It is envisaged that the project will have a bumper harvest towards the end of November 2022 and financial projections for the garden’s proceedings is estimated to be more than Two Hundred Thousand Namibian Dollar. 

It is my sincere hope that these initiatives will boost action for inclusive development, local economic growth and transformation for the Fransfontein Community, and the Kunene Region at large. 

In conclusion, I hope that we all leave here knowing that these interventions will transform the community of Fransfontein, and Kunene Region at large and not become a white elephant. 

I wish you all the best on the successful implementation and continuity of all the initiatives handed over here today. I sincerely hope that such initiatives will make a meaningful impact in the lives of the beneficiaries. 

Thank you.