Development is often defined as the process by which a country improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its citizens. Measures of such development are aggregates or averages, such as, GDP per capita. Our objective is to go beyond just the aggregates and subjective wellbeing.
Obviously, such calculations are flawed as they do not take into account the benefits accruing or not accruing at individual level.
The same story applies to income distribution. Average Namibian is seen to be rich, but in reality top one percent have the same income as the bottom 50 percent!
International bodies, in particular the Bretton Woods Institutions, however, continue to classify countries by per capita income regardless of the type of income distribution. Based on averages, Namibia is currently rated as an upper middle income country, and will be on track to eventually become a high income country, perhaps even before the year 2030.
I hope that from my earlier example it will be evident, why this does not speak to our developmental ambitions which are grounded in the principle of inclusivity. It will not be an achievement if by 2030 we reached high income status, but the majority of our people continued to be structurally excluded from meaningful participation in the economy and wealth creation.
That is why we speak about inclusive development where individuals’ needs have meaning. That is why we say, inclusivity builds capability and spells harmony, while exclusivity spells conflict.
Development based on exclusivity will, therefore, always be short-lived. That is why we keep on referencing to Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who postulates that sustained prosperity is shared prosperity.
As things stand today, we have made significant progress in classical terms in a whole range of areas. However, the problem of poverty continues to be a challenge. We have sought to provide relief in crisis but we need to find a durable solution that helps everyone achieve the kind of lives they have reason to value.
Poverty eradication has indeed continued to be our focus. From day one, we have been forward looking.
At the end of the first decade of independence, we articulated our shared Vision 2030. In order to give expression to this shared vision, we launched and completed four National Development Plans. Today, we are here to launch the Fifth Development Plan. Progress of development under the National Development Plans has been steady but gradual. As we launch the Fifth Plan, it will not be amiss to conduct an audit of our Fourth National Development Plan in order to know what we sought to achieve and how far we have succeeded in achieving the stated objectives.
Notwithstanding the steady development of the country with the implementation of the National Development Plans, I felt that we needed to prioritize action on certain areas. With that in view, we launched the Harambee Prosperity Plan as a complement to the National Development Plans’ efforts, to fast track some of the issues that are important for improving the quality of life of all Namibians.
Let me emphasize that HPP is not a replacement of Vision 2030 or NDP’s, but it is to fast-track their realization.
I strongly believe that, nearly three decades after Namibia gained independence, NDP5 will bring us much closer to our destination of concretizing our vision, Vision 2030. I have great hope that NDP5 would go a long way towards propelling our country towards an advanced development stage with the capacity to design and produce sophisticated technologies.
Initially, this would involve modernizing and upscaling our production sectors and systems including agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries, mining and tourism. By focusing on these sectors, we should be able to create more jobs to absorb new entrants in the labor market.
By 2030, Namibia’s population is expected to reach 3.5 million. Overall, majority of the citizens will be young.
Young population provides an opportunity and a challenge. We would need to increase investment in education, health, housing and integration of disadvantaged persons into mainstream economy. This is exactly what we will seek to do during the NDP5 period. Our budgetary outlays will continue to deliberately discriminate in favor of our social sectors, including education, health and housing.
In terms of opportunity, given appropriate education and training, the young men and women of tomorrow could propel Namibian society towards Vision 2030.
Our preparation for this demographic change must begin now. In order to give an early start to the toddlers today, Namibia will aggressively invest in Early Childhood Development during the NDP5 period.
We will increase access to quality, integrated Early Childhood Development; provide appropriate educational facilities, teaching-learning resources and better child health and nutrition.
Namibia has made great progress in providing access to education to just above 95 percent of the student-age population.
Nevertheless, quality instruction is still unsatisfactory, especially in schools serving poor communities. In remote, rural areas, dropout rates are extremely high. Transition from secondary school to higher education is very low, currently estimated at 19 percent of the grade 12 cohorts. This will have to change.
To improve on educational outcomes, we will develop and maintain educational and health infrastructure during the NDP5 period. As things stand, I am appalled by the poor state of many of our schools and hospitals.
The Harambee Prosperity Plan recognizes and prioritizes vocational training as a backbone of our economic development. Government through HPP and NDP5 will raise TVET’s brand identity and profile, make TVET more accessible through expansion of training facilities and improved employability of learners.
Despite poor state of some of the hospitals, Namibia has made significant strides in the improvement of the health sector.
It has significantly reduced maternal and neonatal mortality.
Other achievements include significant reduction in the incidence of HIV/AIDs among pregnant women and the rollout of antenatal services in all health facilities in the country. However the sector is still faced with many challenges, such as, fear of increasing incidence of communicable diseases due to cross-border movement of people, increased incidences of mental health; insufficient human resources; and inadequate and dilapidated health facilities. During the NDP5 period, Namibia will seek to accelerate health infrastructure development, and human resources development, and promote research and collaboration with other partners.
Housing, especially affordable housing remains a major developmental challenge in our country. The unplanned increase in informal settlements in towns and cities pose challenges to the administration of these cities and towns. Furthermore, it compromises safety and health of communities. During NDP5, the country will explore alternative and innovative methods of providing housing and land to the majority of people. The implementation of Harambee Plan offers viable and feasible way to accelerate housing provision.
Namibia is endowed with an abundance of natural resources such as wildlife, fisheries, forestry, land, minerals, as well as extensive sunlight and strong wind with high potential for renewable energy generation. Namibia vows to sustainably manage its natural resources, and its environment. During the NDP5 implementation period, Namibia will employ a number of specific strategies aimed at strengthening sustainable land management; safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity; and enhancing value addition and sustainable utilization of biodiversity.
I believe that effective governance, responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry are the bedrock of sustainable development. Effective governance is a binding thread around economic, social and environmental objectives. People are at the center of our national development. Our governance outlined in many of our development frameworks centers around three pillars; namely, peace, security and rule of law; accountability and transparency; and public service performance and service delivery.
During NDP5 period Government will also improve crime prevention efforts through enhanced cooperation and participation of all stakeholders; improve justice administrative efficiency, and strengthen national security and territorial integrity.
With regard to Accountability and Transparency government will continue to strengthen anti-corruption measures, auditing services, corporate governance of public enterprises and monitoring and evaluation systems.
With regard to public service performance and service delivery, the government will encourage a “service mentality” or work ethic, ensure availability of public service information to the public, and build capacity of regional and local authorities.
It is only through the adoption of a high standard of work ethic and a culture of service delivery that we can bring to fruition our national developmental aspirations. Desire without effort will not take us to the promised land of shared prosperity.
As Archibald Marwizi once said, “Choices and decisions must be supported by your passion, resolve and a productive work ethic. If these meet opportunity – your success has finally come!”
As Namibians, we have made our decision to take our country to a developed nation status by 2030.
We have made our decision to bring about shared prosperity. We have also made choices as to how we will go about achieving these goals. Now we must support these choices and decisions with passion, resolve and a productive work ethic. In so doing Namibia’s success will finally come.
It is now my great pleasure to launch the National Development Plan 5.