WITH very little doubt, the nation has enjoyed considerable successes since it gained independence from South Africa in 1990 resulting from sound economic management, good governance, basic civic freedoms, and respect for human rights.
Whilst it inherited a well-functioning physical infrastructure, a market economy, rich natural resources, and a relatively strong public administration, the nation has done extremely well in turning the growing regions of Otjozondjupa, Oshikoto, Oshana and Omusati that have arguably tilted the developmental strength of the nation in the North’s favour.
Despite the plunge in the Angolan market owed to the downturn of economic events surrounding oil supply, the ongoing Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair which arguably has outgrown the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show, further provided clear testimony of where companies have begun to prioritise as key markets for their products and services for now and the near future.
But apart from the trade fair, the North has been over the years instrumental and has made significant progress in addressing many development challenges. Access to basic education, primary health care services, and safe water is high and growing. Sound public policies are helping to lay the foundation for gender equality among other key issues that give rise to great growth potential.
With visible growth being experienced in almost every town in the north of Namibia coupled with a mushrooming of shopping malls, particularly by private developers in the smaller towns of Tsumeb, Ongwediva, Oshakati and Outapi, it is imperative that Government continues to support the economic growth by fair regulation of the condition governing investments as well as injecting capital resources in the development of infrastructure which enables businesses and individuals to opt for, or expand geographically northwards. With the country leaning significantly on imports and a sterile manufacturing and production industry, the North presents the country with a trump card to rise from the shadows of imports that currently make up to 80 percent of the retail market, which have driven the developmental agenda of the nation backwards and been a stumbling block towards the achievement of the Fourth National Development Plan and Vision 2030 in the long run. Essentially the recently approved Namibia Investment Promotion Act will protect public interests and safeguard the rights of investors whilst the government tries to pursue important public policy objectives by giving protection for inward and outward investments and retaining policy space. The Act provides a good institutional environment for investors, which aims for a policy framework attuned to sustainable development and inclusive growth which would expand the growth rate of the North.
Considering that the North has been subject to Chinese Influx, it’s also important to note that the new Act has several things that support Namibia’s policy shift into a new dispensation. These include constitutional guarantees that mitigate the risks to foreign investors, the constitutionally mandated need to reclaim policy space, an unacceptably high level of unpredictability in interpreting treaties and the ambivalent empirical evidence on their importance in attracting foreign direct investment.
Ultimately, the Act can be seen as taking an approach that is consistent with the emerging framework of global administrative law, applying Namibia’s domestic administrative law principles to its investment policy. This approach supports the northern region’s fledgling democracy as well as the Harambee Prosperity Plan, which should strive towards principles of transparency, participation and accountability.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015