By Hilary Mare
A failure to embrace long-term structural reforms that boost productivity and free up entrepreneurial talent is harming the global economy’s ability to improve living standards, solve persistently high unemployment and generate adequate resilience for future economic downturns particularly in African states which have also found it difficult to cope with global economic downturn.
Essentially, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 – an annual assessment of the factors driving productivity and prosperity in 140 countries – makes such notice as it ranked Namibia only one place higher than last year giving full indication Government needs to do more to improve the competitiveness credential of the nation. Essentially, Namibia has risen by one place to 84th up from 85th with a score of 4.02 (3.99 last year). Namibia ranks highly for its institutions (39th), infrastructure (66th), financial market development (49th), and labour market efficiency (32nd) but is rated poorly for the quality of its higher education (110th), health and primary education (121st), business sophistication (83rd), technological readiness (87th), and market size (113th).
Access to financing followed by an inadequately educated workforce and inefficient Government bureaucracy are listed in the report as the most problematic factors for doing business in Namibia which the responsible authorities need to address with some degree of urgency.
This may be so because as the Institute for Public Policy Research alludes to, the marginal improvement in the overall ranking, while welcome, still leaves Namibia a long way from its NDP4 target of being the most competitive country in Southern Africa by 2017. The NDP4 target has since been superseded by the Harambee Prosperity Plan – released in April 2016 – which sets a target of Namibia becoming the most competitive economy in Africa by 2020.
Since 2012-13 (over five editions of the GCR), Namibia has improved by eight places – from 92nd to 84th. At this rate, it would take Namibia 25 years to overtake the top African country – Mauritius – at 45th. If the rate of progress does not improve, Namibia would only reach its Harambee target by 2041 not 2020.
Concerted efforts to achieve the desired outcomes and goals of the Harambee
Prosperity Plan are likely to see Namibia making more significant moves up the rankings in the future. To achieve this several of the Harambee Plan’s proposed actions to improve competitiveness should be expedited.
In conclusion, the country has made significant reforms that seek to address competitiveness but as other pundits agree, in order to remain competitive in this new economic landscape, the country will require greater emphasis than ever before on key drivers of productivity, such as talent and innovation.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015