Africans still poor despite mineral wealth

26 May 2017 08:20am
TSES, 26 MAY (NAMPA) – Despite Africa’s growth, its rich cultural diversity and vast vault of natural resources, the majority of the continent’s people remain poor and deprived, while inequality is escalating.
This was the key view of speakers at the Africa Day celebrations held at Tses village in the //Kharas Region on Thursday.
Access and control over resources remain a major governance issue, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said.
As a result, she said, rural Africans in particular remain disenfranchised and exist mired in poverty as resources often are mismanaged.
“Africans are becoming increasingly agitated and demand more political rights and freedom. The challenge is to navigate complex policy choices to establish a link between natural resources and improved living standards,” she said.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative to Namibia, Jean-Pierre Ilboudo explained Africa’s paradox of widespread poverty alongside bountiful human and natural resources.
“Most African economies remain dependent on a limited number of products with low added value and are heavily dependent on foreign aid for the funding of their development.”
There is also little intra-Africa trade in spite of the willingness to promote regional integration of economies and markets, Ilboudo said in a speech read on his behalf.
He offered Africa’s indigenous knowledge in the sustainable use of natural resources, rich cultural heritage and youthful population as competitive economic advantages that could be utilised optimally.
//Kharas Governor Lucia Basson on the same platform announced that she is fighting for a diamonds cutting and polishing centre in the region.
Africa Day was held under the theme ‘Economic Empowerment through Natural Wealth’.
The occasion was co-celebrated with a contingent from the Northern Cape as part of the Twining Agreement between that province of South Africa and the //Kharas Region.
Northern Cape Provincial Government Premier, Sylvia Lucas lauded the friendship between Namibia and South Africa and called for hard work on the implementation of treaties signed between the two countries.
Some of these are in trade, environment and tourism, defence and agriculture.
“We need to create jobs and ensure inclusive growth as part of our efforts to make Africa a better place to live in,” Lucas said.
A diverse display of cultural dance and activities were highlights of the celebration brought to the small Tses village.