Geingob not happy with Namibia's middle income status

26 Sep 2013 07:40
WINDHOEK, 26 SEP (NAMPA) - Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob has expressed his displeasure at Namibia's classification as an upper-middle income country, this without the severe social imbalances which are still in existence in Namibia being considered.
According to the World Bank, Namibia is classified as an upper-middle income country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of around US.dollars of 5 700 (approximately N.dollars 51 300) at current exchange rates.
“I could either rejoice or look at the inequities this statement conceals,” he said whilst speaking at the 15th Bank of Namibia (BoN) annual symposium underway in Windhoek.
He said the simple arithmetic used to reach this conclusion, without the current severe social imbalances being taking into consideration, is “baffling”.
“What this simplistic approach hides is the fact that the wealth is concentrated in the hands of just five per cent of the people,” he said, adding that the remaining 95 per cent are poor, “as poor as anywhere else in the third world”.
This skewed wealth distribution because of historical reasons is a challenge which needs to be addressed peacefully, he added.
“There are those, including the World Bank, who claim that the problem is of equitable distribution - as if we did not know that. What they forget is that when someone tries to correct the situation, as Zimbabwe did, they face unprecedented criticism and reprisal,” he stressed.
Geingob said Namibia is a resource-rich country and has good governance architecture, but “there is no way anyone can claim that Namibians are wealthy”.
Unfortunately, he said, this classification has come as a handicap for a country which is still in the process of trying to develop a robust socio-economic infrastructure by ensuring equitable distribution of the country’s wealth.
“Rest assured, despite the handicap the World Bank has given us, we will meet the targets we have set for ourselves in our Vision 2030 by managing our resources and adding value to them. Our commitment is to ensure access to jobs, housing, education and health services for all,” he stated.
The theme of the BoN’s 15th Annual Symposium is 'Social safety nets in Namibia: Assessing current programmes and future options.'