ECONOMICS: The historical foundation laid by colonialism should be taken into consideration to understand the present and forecast the future political and economic condition of Namibia’s economy.
Generally speaking, the end result of colonial rule on the Namibian economy was the creation of a mono-economic system leaving the colonies behind dependent on one principal agricultural or mineral export. However, it should not be bypassed that the rural economy was highly neglected and industrial development remained rudimentary. Most of the technical and skilled labor was made up by a certain groups of minority people. The same goes for access to education, water, electricity, health, and transport routes. All leading to a very skew distribution of income and quality of life in Namibia. Colonial economic policies undermined the economic future of the Namibian economy.
Significant progress is being made on our developmental journey since the advent of democracy in 1990. Namibia has prioritized access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, particularly for the poor. We need to pay sustained and comprehensive attention to managing our dependence, and transitioning to an economy that relies less and less on foreign aid. Despite progress in Namibia’s development, the country still faces major challenges inter alia high unemployment and poverty levels; high inequality; inadequate economic growth, due to various structural constraints. Critical interventions towards Vision 2030 to stimulate the economy; raise investment and employment levels, especially youth employment, strengthen the capacity of the state, and strengthen partnerships. Combatting inequality has been backed by the Constitution and the adoption of NDPs and HPPs. Namibia is poised to become the renewable energy hub of Africa. Namibia has made great progress in respect of some goals but is confronted by major challenges on many fronts.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Every citizen holds Namibia’s economic potential in their hands. Namibia has performed well on other fronts such as institutional and infrastructure development as well as the preservation of peace and stability. These continue to be important pillars of support for creating a predictable business environment. Delivering the best economic performance possible for Namibia within the current constitutional constraints. It takes decisive steps towards the creation of a well-being economy and drives a green economic recovery to meet our climate and nature targets while ensuring we maximize the benefits as part of a transition. But with the full powers of an independent Namibia, we can, of course, deliver more. At present, macro-economic, fiscal, migration, and other levers lie with the Namibia Government. The task of transforming our economy requires an equally radical transformation in the way we deliver results. The government will provide clear and decisive leadership, but it can’t and shouldn’t do everything. We must be a country in which the public and private sectors respect each other’s strengths, draw on each other’s talents, and work together to create and sustain an economy that works for all.
Our NDPs and HPPs are for Namibia to be successful. Success means a strong economy where good, secure, and well-paid jobs and growing businesses have driven a significant reduction in poverty and, in particular, child poverty. It means a nation of entrepreneurs and innovators, with resilient supply chains and competitive advantages in the new industries generated by technological change, scientific advances, and our response to the climate and nature crises. It means a society in which everyone can participate in economic success, in every community, and in every region. Namibia V2030 is to create a well-being economy, a society that is thriving across economic, social, and environmental dimensions, and that delivers prosperity for all Namibian’s people and places. Ensure that people have the skills they need at every stage of life to have rewarding careers and meet the demands of an ever-changing economy and society and that employers invest in the skilled employees they need to grow their businesses.
We can only succeed and achieve our goals if we pull together as the nation of Namibia. This economic strategy calls for a national endeavor, drawing on the talents, resources, and commitment of every citizen. The benefits of our success will be shared, and so must be the actions we undertake to deliver that success. We will draw on the strengths of people and organizations from all sectors of the economy. In doing so, we recognize that the Government must continue to play a direct role in the economy, taking an entrepreneurial approach itself to drive forward innovation across the economy and to ensure more of the nation’s wealth and services are managed for the collective good. We recognize that it is we who will actively transform the economy through work, innovation, and investment. Namibians are not blind to the immediate and long-term structural challenges facing the Namibia economy, and this strategy is upfront in grappling with these. Neither do we ignore Namibia’s fundamental economic strengths which we must build on.
Furthermore, a just transition must focus on protecting jobs and diversifying our economy whilst contributing significantly to sustainable growth and meeting our commitments and can also make a meaningful contribution to reducing poverty. In other words, it should create new jobs, businesses and open up markets in new sectors as well as support the transition of existing sectors, in a way that has fairness and equality built in.
In conclusion, I am of the view that the future looks promising for Namibia, provided that there is a willingness for a shift of our mindset and collective ability to learn from stories of successes and to avoid past costly mistakes. We all want Namibia to be successful. Success means a strong economy.
Namibia’s economy is in a prolonged low-growth path, poverty is prevalent, and levels of unemployment are high, especially among the youth. These challenges are being addressed, plans and initiatives are underway to attract investment, stimulate the economy, create jobs, and promote skills development, especially among youth. We can only succeed and achieve our goals if we pull together as one.
– by Josef Kefas Sheehama