CORRECTION: Namibia has made great strides in development

06 Mar 2015 07:40am

WINDHOEK, 06 MAR (NAMPA) - Namibians have reasons to celebrate as they look back how far the country has gone towards achieving the goals of Vision 2030 in various sectors.
In the past 25 years, Namibia has enjoyed a steady improvement in its development agenda and a number of development indicators have recorded remarkable progress since independence.
On Thursday, Nampa caught up with national Planning Commission (NPC) Director General Tom Alweendo to update the nation on how far the country has gone towards achieving Vision 2030.
Vision 2030 is a national development strategy launched by Namibia’s first President Dr Sam Nujoma in June 2004, setting the framework for Namibia’s development agenda, with clear objectives and economic targets that should be achieved by the year 2030.
“We are making strides. We are getting there. We have recorded remarkable progress since our independence in 1990,” said a proud Alweendo.
He started off by saying that since independence, the size of Namibia’s economy has increased from N.dollars 8 billion to 130 billion by the end of 2013, while the per capita income has increased from N.dollars 5000 at independence to N.dollars 56 000 per capita in 2013.”
He said the percentage of people living in poverty has declined significantly from 70 per cent in 2001 to 28 per cent in 2011.
“We have more education and health facilities than before and the literacy rate has increased from 76 per cent in 2001 to 98 per cent in 2011,” he stated.
Although the country has achieved remarkable progress in those sectors, Alweendo said there are still challenges ahead.
He said although economic growth has been good, Namibia still has too many unemployed people and inequality is rife in the country.
“We need to have economic growth that is inclusive and having the ability to create the needed jobs. We need to grow our economy at a higher rate and also on a sustainable basis,” he stated.
He explained that currently, the economic growth the country recorded over the years is not because the country is creating new industries, it is because the sectors that contribute more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are more capital intensive.
“These sectors, such as mining do not create new jobs, because people use machineries or simply they contribute more to GDP because the commodities prices have increased,” he explained further.
He then indicated that the government, through the National Development Plan (NDP4) has decided to invest more on sectors that will increase income equality, high and sustained economic growth and employment creation.
These sectors include, agriculture, tourism, housing and sanitation and transport infrastructure.
“We do not want to rely on our primary sector, as they come and go. We want to rely on something which we create ourselves and be there forever, such as agriculture and tourism,” he said.
He said government will provide the environment to achieve Vision 2030, but the actors are in the private sectors.
He encouraged Namibians to believe in themselves and be innovators and creators of their products.
“We cannot grow our economy, and we cannot be an industrialised country while we are importing products to re-sell them. Let us believe in our ability and capability,” he said.
“Let us not become cynical about our ability. You will never do anything new with the defeating mentality. Try new things and learn something out of it. Think about what is possible instead of being critical about our ability of doing things,” he advised.
Namibia will celebrate its silver jubilee on 21 March this year.
A silver jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 25th anniversary.
Outgoing President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who has served two terms as President or ten years, is due to leave office on 21 March this year.
He is expected to be succeeded by Namibia’s third democratically elected president, Hage Geingob, who will be sworn in when the nation celebrates 25 years of independence, freedom, peace, security, democracy and respect for human rights.