SWAPO United, SWAPO Victorious, Now hard work...
   

Get Involved

Sign Up Donate Networking Have Your Say


Join my SWAPO online community, to share your vision of a better Namibia, participate in discussion forums, and receive regular updates by e-mail.Make your voice heard: Tell the world about your views and suggestions. Write to newspapers, call in to talk shows, share your experiences of the first fifteen years of freedom, and how working together we can do more.


 

What will Namibia look like in 2030? ..part 2

By Josephat Inambao Sinvula
DECENTRALIZATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE
The SWAPO-Party led government has subjected itself to the Constitution of Namibia's Chapter 12, Article 102(1) on the policy of decentralization that was launched on March 30, 1998. The Article provides for the structure of regional and local government under the Regional Councils Act, 1992 (Act No. 22 of 1992) and Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act No. 23 of 1992) as amended, that calls for the establishment of Councils, qualifications and elections of Councillors.

Both Acts empower the Regional and Local Authority Councillors to form the administrative structures to run and implement the decisions of the Councils such as that of the Management Committees, Ordinary Council Committee Meetings and office bearers of the Councils such as the Chief Regional Officers, Chief Executive Officers, staff and employees of the Councils.

The Acts also provide for the powers, duties, functions, rights and obligations of Councils and financial matters of the Regional and Local Authority Councils. Other legislations were passed in 2000, such as the Regional Councils AmendmentAct, LocalAuthorities Amendment Act, Decentralization Enabling Act and the Trust Fund for Regional Development and Equity Provisions Act.

By the year 2030 this will lead to the realization of decentralization that empowers local communities and regional councils to be fully involved in the development process and to actually formulate and implement their respective development plans while the central governmentworking hand in hand with civil society organizations-shall provide the enabling environment (laws, policies, finance, security) for effective management of national and regional and local development efforts.

Namibia became independent on 21 March 1990 as a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary State based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all. This is the basis on which good governance has been so far carried out where fundamental rights and freedoms of all Namibians are respected. Freedom of press, assembly and speech are well exercised. Print and electronic media are free to express their opinion without any threat or harassment of any kind. Live-talk shows on both radio and television where people call in to express their views on issues that disturb peace and political stability have become sources to practice our freedom of opinion. The freedom of press also contributes to peace and stability in that people, civil society are always well informed of the policies of the government by independent monitors.

By 2030, Namibia will be in a position to maintain, consolidate and extend the good governance practices of a multi-party democracy with high levels of participation, rights, freedoms and legitimacy (under the constitution) which continue to serve a model for other countries in Africa.

NAMIBIA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH

During the 1980s, Namibia's economic growth was stagnant, growing at only 1.1%. Its wealth remained highly skewed with 5% of the white population group enjoying 80% of the wealth in the country. Poverty and unemployment was very high and access to basic services remained extremely limited to the majority of the population. This is how the apartheid colonialsystem forced youth into exile to participate in the struggle against the colonial system of the South African Apartheid regime. At independence, the SWAPOparty led government put more efforts to break the vicious circle of poverty, hunger, income inequality and high employment and 'to build a foundation for self-sustainable economic growth and development aimed to create macro-economic stability to ensure economic growth, poverty reduction and increased employment.

It is also aimed to ensure an enabling regulatory framework with aims to promote microeconomic reform and efficiency through trade and industry policy, rural and agricultural policy and rural infrastructure development'. For example, road construction were extended to rural areas, water and electricity supply as well as the construction of additional classroom buildings and clinics in the country's remote areas.

As the population grew to 1.2%from 1990 and 1.5% in 1995, the economic growth reached an average growth rate of 5% surpassing the average of 1.1%. However, it slowed to 3.5% during 1996 – 2000. The high growth rates during the 1990s were mainly of primary sector driven. The slow growth was caused by external factors such as climatic and marine conditions in the agriculture and fisheries sectors and fluctuations in the international commodity demand and price and the mining sector on the mineral products and exports to be about 7%.

The real GDP per capita growth fell from 1.90% in the first part of 1990s. On average the gross serdomestic investment has hovered around 20% for the GDP during the first period after independence, falling short of the high level saving of about 25% of GDP which the country has been able to generate during the same period. The inflation rate in Namibia is largely determined by the price determination in South Africa, since 80% of Namibia's imports come from South Africa.

The inflation rate grew on averages by 12% during 1990-1995. It started to decline moderately during the second half of the 1990s, averaging 8.5%. So by the year 2015, under Vision 2030 Namibia's Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow from 3.5% in 2005 to 4.5% and its Real GDP per capita will grow from 1.8% in 2005 to 3.2% in 2015. The real fixed formation growth will be 5% in 2005 is expected at 7.7% in 2015.

HEALTH PROMOTION

Namibia's priority development agenda is to improve the health of the Namibian people by ensuring equity of access to quality health care services to all, promoting services, community involvement and greater participation of people in the provision of health services, facilitating cooperation and inter sect oral action with all major players in the provision of health care, instituting measured to countries major health risks such as communicable diseases, malaria, TB and HIV/ AIDS.

Furthermore, Namibia is aimed at ensuring 'the development of a natural health care system that is capable to providing a fully comprehensive range of preventive, curative and rehabilitation health care that is cost effective and sustainable and acceptable to the most disadvantaged countries, promoting equity and facilitating the effective implementation of defined strategies and interventions.

To this end, Namibia has made strides to reduce diseases for children under 5 years old through immunization programmes that are carried out every year. Diseases such as Polio, Diarrhoea, Measles, Malaria, TB, STDs are manageable and controllable. This is a great achievement within a period of 15 years.

However, the government has still to work very hard towards Vision 2030 to fight against HIV/AIDS pandemic. It sets up a multi-sectoral strategy to combat HIV/AIDS that is currently causing great impact to the development of the country. It involves in programmes such as prevention, home based-care, condom uses and anti-retroviral programmes to reduce HIV/AIDS at its low ebb. Under Vision 2030 Namibia strives to manage and control AIDS related cases and deaths accordingly. By the year 2015, "Namibia shall be free of the diseases of poverty and inequity, and the majority of Namibians are living in healthy lifestyles provided with safe drinking water and a comprehensive preventative and accusative health service to which all have access".

POVERTY REDUCTION

Namibia is one of the richest countries in Africa. It blessed with natural resources such as diamonds, fish, agricultural products and tourists attractions. These have made Namibia a relatively high-per capita low middle income country. However, Namibia is among the most dualistic countries in the world both economically and geographically with statistical average figures contrasting wealth and poverty. The UNDP Human Development Report of 1998 indicates a Gini-Coefficient of 0.67 for Namibia. In 1996, the per capita income for its 1.7 million people was recorded at N$2080 and the real growth rate was recorded at 4% annually since independence.

For this reason, the SWAPOparty led government has been committed to come up with equitable policies and strategies to allocate 4% of its annual budget to the improvement of education and health. This is aimed at imparting skills among learners to enable them to have access to job creation in order to earn their livings and to contribute to the economic growth of our country.

Poverty is also among urban population and differs from region to region because of income distribution, access to resources, social services and job creation. Such disparities differ also when it comes to life expectancy. For example, life expectancy is 42 for Caprivi Region and 57.5 for Erongo Region in the same way adult literacy is 94% for Khomas Region and 57% for Kunene Region and school enrolment of 74% for Omaheke and 64% for Otjozondjupa and 50% for Oshana Region.

The government under Vision 2030 has set up targets to reduce poverty in Namibia. It will increase the provision of water by 2007 from 80% to 85% by the year 2010; achieve 100% coverage of potable water in urban areas, increase full cost water recovery by 60%; decentralize 100% the regional and rural water supply resourcestoregionalcouncils.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Since independence, the government of Namibia has made big investments in education and training. The goal was to improve the qualifications of teachers and generally to improve access, equity and efficiency of learning among the learners.

The government has also invested in the training of teachers at Ongwediva, Rundu, Caprivi and Windhoek Colleges of education as well as at the University of Namibia to impart necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to the Namibians and other interested learners from the neighbouring countries like Angola. To date, efforts are being made for construction of new additional classroom buildings where needed, including tertiary institutions and learning centres. Despites all these efforts, much is still to be done to improve the learning environment at Secondary Schools.

For example, ''the result of 2001 census shows that out of the estimated total population aged 15 and above, who left school 33.5% did not complete Primary School. This figure compromised of 32.4% females and 34.7% males. Only 2% of adults who left school have a university education with slightly more males of 2.6% than females at 1.8%. This shows that a lot needs to be done to improve the learning environment at secondary school, university, post-sec technical, teachers, training personnel. By the year 2010, the government undertakes to have no more unqualified teachers in Namibia. It commits itself to appoint qualified teachers with teacher's diploma and those with Bachelor of Education degree in secondary schools only.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

Namibia puts information and communication technology (ICT) high on its agenda because of its importance to all sectors of the economy and society at large. As the world advances in the development of wireless and digital technology, Namibia has also started to improve its ITC sector through Telecom Namibia Limited making it possible to increase access to information for education, entertainment, health and lifestyle through internet.

Progress in the development of ICT has been not successful because of lack of skilled ICT human capital in the country. Scarce resources have also hampered Namibia to invest in this sector. Though Namibia is described to be one of several countries in Southern Africa with good ICT infrastructure in place, it needs more improvement in this sector for competitive advantage with countries in Southern Africa that use ICT facilities so as to benefit from many opportunities offered by ICT.

Some of the shortcomings the government experiences in the field of ICT is the fact that there is no hardware, manufacturers and software developers in Namibia. All hardware and standard software are imported from South Africa. The international bandwidth of 7.2 MB is very low compared to the international standards outside Africa. Other problem Namibia is facing include "connectivity costs are relatively highly households and business use the services of Telecom Namibia for internet access only, 7.2% of households have access to computers and 38.6% to telephone.

According to 2011 census data, there are only few e-business activities in Namibia with web pages having very slow access due to low bandwidth. Libraries are poorly equipped to play their vital role in the age of information with few only that offer internet access. By the year 2015, Namibia will come up with its "comprehensive ICT policy, integrate ICT education and training in school curricula invest in research to promote local ICT industries, improve access to ICT facilities for all members of the Namibian society and enhance bandwidth both internally and externally at least to 1 GB. UNEMPLOYMENT IN NAMIBIA Unemployment has now become a threat to Namibia's peace, stability and tranquillity with so many school drop-outs increasing every year. On one hand, persistent unemployment among the youth and women has also led to social evils such as the high rate of crime and HIV/AIDS incidences. A number of youths involve themselves in house breaking, armed robberies, car theft, stock theft and money laundering. To add salt to injury, teenage pregnancies and sex workers are also on the increase thereby contributing to the high rate of HIV/AIDS in Namibia. Currently, the unemployment rate in Namibia has the propensity to fluctuate between 20% -25%.

A study conducted in 2000 indicates that "unemployment has been growing since 1970s despite the fact that Namibia's economy has only a small labour force of about half a million people. The study found out that there are about 20,000 people unemployed in 1970 compared to 170,000 people in 1998. This indicates that unemployment in Namibia has increased from 7.7% in 1970 to 32% in 1998".

In 1997, the economically active population in the country was estimated at 612618. This made up 307.454 men and 305.165 women. In the broad sense, this indicates that the unemployment rate was 34.5% for the whole country.

It was high from women with 28.6%. This indicates clearly that Namibia's unemployment is much made of a "structural nature characterized by "the limited size of the domestic market, economic dualism and labour market segmentation, declining productivity in agriculture and weak performance manufacturing sector. Despite the aforementioned, Namibia has put in place a number of policy measures and programmes to encourage local and foreign investment the country aimed at diversifying productive activities and creating employment opportunities, fast increasing, fast increasing labour force. Among the policy measures in place are:

- The Affirmative Employment Act No. 29 of 1998 whose goal is to enhance participation and integration of previous disadvantaged groups in the society in the labour market and to promote equal opportunity in employment. Now, many women are engaged in construction, agriculture and small business activities.

- The White Paper on a Labour Based Works that would enable women to engage in the construction of roads in rural areas.

- National Employment Policies for Job Creation and protection of workers

- The Public Service act No. 13 of 1995 for establishment, management and efficiency of the Public Service and regulation of employment, and,

- The Employment Compensation Act No. 30 of 194 as amended by Act 5 of 1995 for the establishment of Employee Compensation Accident Fund and Accident Pension Fund. According to 2001 census result, Namibia workforce is dominated by the private and public service that employ 57% of all workers. This is followed by Agriculture, Fishing with 25% and Manufacturing with 12.3%. Namibia lacks skilled employed people. Among the workforce 12.5% have no formal education, 44% have full or partial primary education and less than 1.0% has post-secondary education. Employment in Namibia goes also with skills both at private and public sector. This makes a number of people currently unemployed requiring now skills such as computer literacy, accounting and clerical works as most jobs require such attributes as prescribed requirements in the job market.

According to the 2001 census, the overall unemployment rate is 31% that is high for females with 35.9% for males with 26.8%. It is very high among the youth almost 40.4% for those aged 15-19 and 46.9% for those aged 20-24 years. By the year 2015, the unemployment in Namibia will be reduced to 20% as the government is committed to:

- Promote small and medium scale enterprises

- Provide training in business development and management to both out-of –school and in-school men and women

- Invest in community based technical institutions for school drop-out to gain skills

- Provide incentives for self-employment and job creation, and,

- To encourage investors to put up industries

CONCLUDING REMARKS Todaro (2000) reminds us that:

As 7.2 billion people throughout the world, 6 billion in less developed countries and 1.2 billion in more developed countries, "awaken each morning to face a new day, they do so under different circumstances. Some live in comfortable homes with many rooms. They have more than enough to eat, are well clothed and healthy and have a reasonable degree of financial security. Others and these constitute three quarters of the Earth's 7.2 billion people, are much less fortunate. They have little or no shelter and an inadequate food supply. Their heath is poor, they cannot read or write, they are unemployed and their prospects for a better life are bleak or uncertain at best".

The aforementioned illustration is a clear indication that if Namibia is to reduce poverty, we need to increase employment and provide skills by expanding production, opportunities for job creation. I have therefore attempted to show that by using the Government of the Republic of Namibia's Vision 2030, the country will be successful in establishing a strong industrial sector and excellent manufacturing based economy by the year 2030.

I have equally attempted to show that in order to bring about this radical constructive change, the government as a catalyst for creating a conducive environment for the private sector to flourish together with all stakeholders will need to shift capital and labour from agriculture and household production to factories and manufacture operations. We should also increase our capacity to process primary resources for marketing and consumption





CONTACTS

SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura