IF Namibian pundits are to be believed, 2018 promises to be a year of good fortune, with positive changes on the horizon, in terms of streamlining the country’s Cabinet for service delivery, and possible relief, in terms of the dire economic recession that has gripped ordinary citizens over the past two years.
Paramount to the progressive narrative in the Land of the Brave is that the paralysing internal election battle within the ruling Swapo is now a thing of the past, which sets the tone for the full-scale implementation of changes to the country’s existing fiscal settings, while providing a lasting long-term solution to the uncertainty and possible political risk, which rating agencies cottoned onto and used to downgrade the economy.
Indeed, a great deal is expected from President Hage Geingob and his team, who are now tasked with the duty of turning blueprints into actual radical reforms that bear fruits for both social and economic recovery. Judging by his track record and statements he made after romping to a landslide victory as Swapo president late last year, Geingob promises to ring changes that will jumpstart the struggling Namibian economy, in what he terms “the year of reckoning”.
The year of reckoning should therefore be one in which government is honed and streamlined to deliver, deliver and deliver.
On the downside, the mood in Namibia has over the years turned sharply pessimistic. This has been the result of structural problems, such as high unemployment – specifically youth unemployment – a shrinking private sector, overregulation of many industries, excessive increases in overall debt and a lack of skills that is a drag on economic growth and widens the income distribution gap.
Of course, Namibia seems to be in trouble, as scores of our reports and assessments continue to show – in areas ranging from governance to crime, and education to employment.
We are not saying that these many crises are exaggerated, but rather that even as we confront these problems, we must not lose sight of the fact that a lot has gone right in our country.
Government has brought Namibia back onto a fiscally prudent track, and that this is true for almost all sectors, and across almost all areas of social and economic development – even in those areas commonly associated with failure.
The brighter side of 2018 denotes that due to expected better rainfall in 2018, agricultural output is set to improve. Furthermore, growth is also expected from the mining and manufacturing sector, coupled with a growing tourism industry.
The rise in the value of the South African rand, after the neighbouring ANC ruling party elected a new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is a another welcome boon for Namibia.
Ramaphosa’s leadership credentials reflect his public commitment to tackle corruption and revive the South African economy.
If businesses and consumers continue their support, this could give a near-term boost to growth, even to Namibia.
As a publication, we believe and foresee a turnaround, once government takes a firm stand on reform policies that are pro-growth, and at the same time continues to prime those measures that ensure continued fiscal discipline.
Let us put the doom and gloom or 2017 behind us, as each and every Namibian plays their part in lifting the country, amid the continued challenges!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015