Geingob wants 'pro-people' drought strategic framework

19 Aug 2016 10:20am
WINDHOEK, 19 AUG (NAMPA) – Over-dependence on rain-fed agricultural produce and livestock production makes the African continent, and Namibia in particular, highly vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of drought.
The impact is even more severe in developing economies on the continent compared to those which are more developed, President Hage Geingob has said.
Geingob made these remarks during the official opening of the high-level segment of the African Drought Conference here on Thursday.
“We are witnessing this situation in Africa’s largest economy of South Africa where economists predict that this year the worst drought in the country’s history in more than 20 years could knock 0,5 per cent off South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
The Head of State thus urged participants to scrutinise the strategic policy drawn up by technical experts during the conference, to ensure that it serves the needs of the people affected by drought.
“Drought cannot be wished away, neither can we engage in a war with mother nature. Let us not fail to plan and therefore plan to fail, but rather come up with an effective blueprint to mitigate the effects of drought,” he emphasised.
He also reiterated that over 25 per cent of Namibia’s population is food insecure.
Geingob noted that the strategic framework to be adopted will be crucial in guiding Namibia on a range of issues which are critical in mitigating the effects of drought.
“I believe that we need this strategic framework, which will serve as an overarching guide for our countries and sub-regions to put the required drought policies in place,” he added.
Namibia is facing one of its most devastating droughts in 30 years, which prompted Geingob to declare a state of emergency in June.
This year, Government will have to feed an estimated 600 000 people as a result of reduced crop production, livestock deaths, malnutrition and hunger across the country.
Meanwhile, the two-day high-level segment of the conference, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah started on Thursday and ends Friday.
The conference, which started on Monday, was divided into two segments namely the technical segment and a high-level segment.
The technical segment is mainly tasked with the formulation of the strategic framework policy whereas the high-level segment will scrutinise it.
The conference is being held under the theme: ‘Enhancing Resilience to Drought Events on the African Continent.’