by Josef Kefas Sheehama
WINDHOEK, FEB 4 – Crime has been constantly increasing since 2018, due principally to the level of poverty and inequality are the main causes of crime in Namibia.
One of the macroeconomic problems facing Namibia is the issue of unemployment. Economically and socially deprived economies where levels of poverty, unemployment and underemployment are very high is bound to affect economic activities.
When people are not fully employed, they are bound to engage in different types of crimes as a survival strategy. In order to get rid of such discrepancy it’s necessary that the fruit of economic growth ought to reach to every person within the remotest of Namibia. Agriculture is the main pillar of the country thus it ought to incline priority. Income inequality and widespread poverty in Namibia is as a result of high unemployment. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the impact between unemployment and economic growth and to determine the directions of the causality.
Governments have the responsibility to protect its citizens by crafting efficient social policies aimed at reducing the effects of crime on the society. Increased crime rate has adverse effects on sustainable economic growth in Namibia by driving away both foreign and domestic investors; low investment eventually increases unemployment and poverty. The challenges to effective crime prevention and control are corruption, poverty, family issues and poor motivation for the Namibian Police Force.
Economic growth is a prerequisite for the development of any economy. Economic development has the tendency to attract investors into an economy and this creates employment opportunities for the populace. With increased employment, productivity increases and becomes a viable tool for higher incomes. However, when people do not meet up with their basic demands in life they may resort to crime as a survival strategy. Therefore, crime increases uncertainty in the economy and this affects productivity and decrease the real Gross Domestic Product.
The incidence of crime in Namibia has been notable. It is regrettable that one of Commercial Bank in Namibia was robbed N$1.3million on Wednesday afternoon. According to Shikwambi, the suspects managed to take the boxes containing the cash of N$1 300 000 and fled the scene. The prevalence of crime in our country today calls for serious concern because it erodes the sense of security in a nation.
Crime could cause emotional and psychological pain on an individual and it affects the accumulation of physical, human and social capital; destroys the social infrastructure and discouraging both domestic and foreign investments. This situation thus undermines the ability of the economy to sustain growth and development. In all, organized crime is most damaging because it challenges the viability of the government.
In an attempt to reduce the rate of crime in Namibia, the Namibia Government had to recruit more police officers; increase funding for internal security and improve living standard of officers. The interest on crime and economic growth could be traced to the father of economics Adam Smith who wrote on how people are motivated towards crime through accumulation of wealth. When moral obligations and social controls are weak and not strong enough to function effectively and control behavior, it results to conflicts, violence and crime in the society. Therefore, the police force is mandated to prevent and control crime as a government agent.
The inability of the police to control and prevent crime, the breakdown of family values, prevalence of bribery and corruption and high unemployment rate, have all contributed to a further breakdown of law and order.
The relationship between crime level, unemployment rate, poverty rate, corruption level and inflation rate negatively affect economic growth. The link between crime level, unemployment, poverty, corruption and inflation, could be that even if people were unemployed, poor and corrupt, criminality may not be that high, but when the cost of living which is determined by inflation is high, crime level becomes high.
Reform policies will enhance economic growth and reducing poverty and corruption so that the level of economic growth can be improved. The role of the government is very strategic to drive the rate of economic growth. The role of the government and all stakeholders in combating both public crime and financial crime such as corruption is very necessary. Such crimes will increase social costs that will become a burden of the government budget and will reduce economic growth. For this reason, there is a need for synergy in eradicating crime at all levels of society.
To this end, crime scares away both domestic and foreign investors and consequently reduces economic growth through reduction in foreign direct investment. Reduction in investment affects economic activities by reducing the level of employment and unemployment may lead to crime.
The Namibian Government needs to develop a welfare programme for children from broken homes and unemployed youths so as to prevent them from being used as tools for criminal activities. One important thing to note is that it is not only about creation of employment opportunities and increasing the economic activities in the economy, but, also improve the prevailing real income of those working so that inflation will not help to increase poverty and income inequality in our country.
The police cannot fight crime alone; the members of the public must learn to assist the police with vital information when needed. These solutions I believe will help to reduce the rate of engaging in crime, improve both domestic and foreign investment and drive sustainable economic growth in Namibia.