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Namibia: Poverty Still a Challenge – Geingob

June 1, 2017

President Hage Geingob

President Hage Geingob

President Hage Geingob said despite progress having been made, poverty levels remained a major national challenge.

Geingob said this yesterday at the official launch of the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) at State House, adding that development was defined by the economic, political and social well-being of citizens.

“The problem of poverty continues to be a challenge. We have sought to provide relief in crises, but we need to find a durable solution that helps everyone achieve the kind of lives they have reason to value,” he said, adding that poverty eradication remained the focus of his administration.

He said Namibia was considered an upper middle income country by multilateral financial institutions, despite the fact that “the top 1% have the same amount of income as the bottom 50%”.

Geingob said NDP5 would bring the country closer to realising its Vision 2030 objectives, and emphasised that the Harambee Prosperity Plan would fast-track some interventions, and not replace Vision 2030.

The President further noted that although budgetary allocations were already deliberately skewed in favour of social sectors such as health, education and housing, NDP5 would maintain the focus on increasing investments in education, health, housing and the integration of disadvantaged persons into the mainstream economy.

According to him, Namibia’s population is expected to have increased to 3,5 million by 2030, and being overwhelmingly youthful.

“Young men and women of tomorrow could propel Namibian society towards Vision 2030,” he said.

The President added that the country needed to prepare for this demographic change in order to give “an early start to toddlers today. Namibia will aggressively invest in early childhood development during NDP5”.

Modernising and scaling up various sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries, mining and tourism, should also create more jobs to absorb new entrants.

Geingob said the issues at hospitals, schools, in housing and human resources, all needed to be addressed as they posed challenges to development.

“Informal settlements in towns and cities pose challenges to the administration of these cities and towns,” he added.

A presentation by Sylvestor Mbangu, government’s chief national development adviser, showed that NDP5 has four pillars, namely economic progression, social transformation, environmental sustainability and good governance.

He said NDP5’s goals included achieving inclusive, sustainable and equitable growth, building capable healthy human resources, ensuring a sustainable environment, and promoting good governance through effective institutions, all while fostering a competitive economy.

 Mbangu said the economic progression pillar aims to ensure higher income growth and improved income distribution for Namibia’s citizens and reduce unemployment, while the social transformation pillar will look at improving housing provision.
Under the environmental sustainability pillar, mitigating climate change and improving environmental protection are broad strategies, while under the good governance pillar, expected results are improved service delivery and an improved global peace index score.

Economic planning minister Tom Alweendo said Namibia was in a better state than it was before, but that achievements did not mean that there were no challenges remaining to be addressed.

*The Namibian/Allafrica

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