SADC committed to fighting poverty collectively: Geingob

18 Aug 2018 10:30am
By Maggy Thomas and Maqonda Ndlovu
WINDHOEK, 18 AUG (NAMPA) – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are on the same page when it comes to fighting poverty in the region, President Hage Geingob has said.
He was speaking to Nampa on the sidelines of the 38th SADC Ordinary Summit in Windhoek last week.
Responding to a question on how he plans to ensure SADC member states fight poverty collectively following his all-out war on poverty in Namibia, Geingob said the member states are all speaking the same language.
“We are saying our people have peace and democracy, we are all saying the next step is to provide basic necessities to our citizens, not to make millionaires of all of them; it is impossible. But basic necessities such as decent shelter, clothing, schools, clinics, hospitals, those are things we all agreed on,” he explained.
He added that to achieve this, the member states must join hands and address the issue as agreed.
He went on to say while Namibia cannot dictate to other member states how they should deal with poverty, the regional bloc governments have to pull up their socks.
Geingob added that while the general population understood the problems faced by governments, the priority for most of the governments was to address the issue of youth unemployment.
“We must encourage vocational training because countries are not built by PhD’s, they are built by vocational people like artisans, who can use their hands. If we can make use of government land, create opportunities for youth who are not lazy to work with their hands, we will empower our youth,” he said.
Geingob explained that in Namibia’s case, they will invite business owners and industries to see how it can empower the youth.
“Maybe I failed in that [engaging business communities], but I will engage them. Government alone cannot solve youth unemployment. We will find out how many youth they can take per year on internship, how to train them on the job and more,” the president suggested.
Geingob further called on all Namibians, regardless of skin colour or creed, to deal with the issue of unemployment.
The president however questioned people with degrees who are unemployed, saying “maybe the problem has to do with the degrees they hold.”
“If you have wrong degrees like mine, political science… there is no more time for political science, we are enough already, anybody can talk and make political noise, but perhaps look at accountancy or technology, that’s where the money is,” Geingob added.
He further called on Namibians to shun the mentality of always having to work for someone, saying it is “apartheid mentality” to always have a boss.
The president encouraged Namibians to use their hands to create self-employment through buying and selling of goods.
This, he said, will help alleviate unemployment in Namibia.
President Geingob took over the SADC chairpersonship from South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.