…Geingob’s stellar role at the 71st UN General Assembly
By Hilary Mare
WHEN President Hage Geingob left for the United States for the 71st United Nations General Assembly on a tightly packed programme, key sentiments surrounded the cost of his month long trip yet his prime agenda bottled great extrinsic rewards for a rather grappling Namibia amid fears of a looming Fitch downgrade.
Stepping onto the grand stage in a global address, Geingob was fearless and said the world’s people had implored the United Nations to increase its efforts in more spheres of activity, locations and challenging circumstances than in the organisation’s history. This therefore meant that implementation of the new 2030 Agenda would require coherence and complementarity among global, continental, regional, national, local and other platforms. In addition, the success of the Sustainable Development Goals would require efforts to integrate economic growth, social justice and environmental stewardship.
Indeed to make a dent on poverty, Namibia had to grow at a higher level and commitment to responsibly managing the economy was to be fully outlined. In this regard Geingob reaffirmed the world that there was no risk it would not honour its near- and medium-term debt obligations adding that the private sector had a crucial role to play in stimulating growth. On the social justice front, he expressed concern about the current refugee crisis, which required immediate and collective action. Notably, factors that forced people to flee needed to be addressed, rather than just addressing the symptoms of the problem.
But in all, Geingob made sure that the world would get a clear taste of the five Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) pillars which are effective governance, economic advancement, social progression, infrastructure development and international relation and cooperation.
Reforming the Security Council has always been paramount and Geingob-though this was not Namibia centric- made clear mention that the reform of the Security Council cannot be reduced to the aspirations of few countries. The Security Council is too important an organ to be left to the interests of a few.
“Namibia believes that the United Nations remains the centre for the consolidation of international rule of law. Therefore, the UN system should serve as a banner of transparency and accountability. For governments and organisations such as the United Nations to regain trust from people who have lost trust in the global leadership over the years, they must place inclusivity and transparency at the forefront of governance, for transparency plus accountability spells trust.
“Hence we reiterate our call for the comprehensive reform of the Security Council, thereby making it more democratic and transparent, so as to better serve humanity. Namibia remains fully committed to the Africa Common Position on the UN Reform. We are of the opinion that the Security Council should reflect the broad membership of our organisation. Fairness and justice warrant that Africa be part of the equation,” he expressed.
As a consequence of the slowdown in the global economic cycle, and a fall in commodity prices, the Namibian economy is experiencing a downturn in 2016, following robust growth averaging more than five percent during the preceding five years.
Geingob reiterated to the world that Namibia was mindful that in order to make a meaningful dent on poverty, it needed to grow at a higher level.
“We remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for Namibia, as the key economic fundamentals, including fiscal sustainability and sustainability of our external current account remains intact. Testament to this is the fact that the Fitch rating agency recently reaffirmed Namibia’s International Default Rate at BBB-, and bond issuance in the South African and Namibian market at AA+, although the longer-term outlook was revised from stable to negative.
“The Government of the Republic of Namibia remains committed to managing the economy in a prudent and responsible manner, and has already instituted, expenditure, revenue and structural reform measures to address concerns raised by rating agencies about the long-term outlook of Namibia. We would like to assure all our partners, that there is no risk that Namibia will not honour debt obligation in the near and medium term. In fact, we remain bullish about the country’s economic outlook.
“Moreover, we remain committed to creating conditions in Namibia that will enable full participation of the private sector in the economy. Government alone cannot shoulder the burden of extending development to all. The private sector has a crucial role to play in stimulating economic growth and job creation in our country,” he said.
In September last year Namibia committed to a new agenda for Sustainable Development. Geingob made it clear that Namibia was in agreement that effective implementation of this agenda will require coherence and complementarity between global, continental, regional, national and local efforts.
“We are confident that we will join the global drive towards ensuring a life of dignity for all and we will spare no effort in working to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty.
“Namibia agrees with the notion that the successors of the Millennium Development Goals will need to fully integrate economic growth, social justice and environmental stewardship. In terms of economic growth, we need to talk about inclusive growth that will translate into creation of decent job opportunities for our citizens. In other words, we must do more to move away from the current jobless growth model that prevails in many of our member countries. We, should therefore, aim to grow our economy in a sustainable and inclusive manner in order to ensure that we effectively tackle the scourge of poverty,” he said.
In this key pillar Geingob took time for prime interviews with acclaimed publications such as Forbes, the New York Times and The Economist where he focused on Namibia’s key business industries/sectors, and the nation’s economy. Geingob unpacked thematic issues inclusive of Namibia’s human and natural resources, political and economic stability, substantial infrastructure, and advantageous geographic position, offer limitless potential as a vibrant commercial hub and channel to the Southern African region that represents a market upwards of 300 million people.
“At present the World Bank rates Namibia as an affluent and high-ranking upper middle-income country. Other indicators of Namibia’s favourable economic climate include low interest rates, fiscal stimulus, rapid household consumption growth, low inflation and the lack of restrictions on the repatriation of foreign capital with laws protecting the rights of foreign investors,” Geingob argued.
He presented areas for growth and investment: Housing and Construction, Manufacturing, including green projects, Energy, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Finance, Manufacturing, and tourism and also marketed Invest in Namibia Conference on 8-9 November 2016 which will profile Namibia’s national trade and investment strategies as well as specific business opportunities in the sectors of Energy, Agriculture, Tourism, Manufacturing and Infrastructure Development.
International relations and cooperation
As a nation which emerged from a long, bitter and bloody struggle for independence and has since enjoyed 26 years of freedom, Geingob stated that Namibia sympathises with those who are not yet independent and denied their basic human rights.
Namibia thus called for the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions on Palestine.
“The international community must fulfil its obligations and assist the people of Palestine to realise their basic right to independence and self-determination. Their freedom and independence cannot be denied forever – it can only be delayed – let history be our best teacher.
“Namibia recognises and acknowledges the role played by the Kingdom of Morocco in helping us attain our Independence. I can proudly say that the people of Morocco are our brothers and sisters and this was affirmed during my two visits to Morocco.
“We are a nation that believes in being an enemy to none and a friend to all, and we also believe in a world where no one should feel left out. Unfortunately, our brothers and sisters in Western Sahara feel left out. We therefore hope that the people of Western Sahara will soon enjoy the freedom that the Kingdom of Morocco helped Namibia to attain.
It is in this vain that we call for the full implementation of resolutions calling for a referendum in the occupied Western Sahara, so that the people there can freely express themselves as to whether they opt for independence or unification with Morocco, so that the disagreement between brothers and sisters comes to an amicable end,” said Geingob.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015