PRESIDENT Hage Geingob says inequality in Namibia remains a challenge as reflected in the skewed ownership of land where white Namibians own 70 per cent of all agricultural land.
According to his address to the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, President Geingob said while Namibia had witnessed sustained economic growth over much of the last 10 years, unemployment remained persistently high.
“Nevertheless, Namibia has observed one of the fastest reductions of poverty levels in our region over the last 10 years, from 28.8 per cent to 17.4 per cent,” he said.
President Geingob said in pursuit of creating favourable conditions to fight poverty and maintain peace and stability, Namibia would hold its 2nd National Land Conference in early October.
He said ahead of that conference, government conducted consultations in all the 14 regions of the country to ensure an inclusive process.
“We believe in consultation. If diplomacy fails, people go to war. Inclusivity spells harmony and exclusivity spells conflict,” President Geingob said. “As a result, we call on our development partners to support the outcome of this conference, so as to continue assisting us in the process of socio-economic transformation.”
He again lamented the classification of Namibia as an Upper-Middle Income nation saying it did not take into account the skewed distribution of income.
“It prevents us from accessing Official Development Assistance and affordable, concessional finance,” President Geingob said. “The situation has the potential to jeopardise efforts of Namibia and other developing countries to fully achieve Agenda 2030.”
He also said communicable diseases threatened
The chairman of SADC also said he was convinced that the youth of the SADC and indeed of the world, were the future custodians of social, political, economic and governance infrastructure.
“As such, the youth need to be capacitated with requisite skills and training, and economically empowered through entrepreneurship to drive development towards inclusive growth and shared prosperity,” he said.” The youth of the SADC region, like their counterparts in the world, yearn for better prospects. They yearn for a future of opportunity and job certainty, where the Fourth Industrial Revolution will present opportunity and not threat. A future characterised by rapid advancement of technologies, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and mechanisation should present more opportunities for our youth and humanity at large. The onus is on us to understand how these technologies can create opportunities for our youth to become drivers of economic growth and industrial development.”
President Geingob said excluding women from certain spheres of life was to put to waste skills and expertise that could contribute to sustainable development.
He said Namibia was fully committed to implementing gender equality, which was evident in the important role women played in politics.
President Geingob said the 1997 SWAPO congress principled decision was the genesis of the now constitutionally mandated SWAPO party Zebra style 50/50 policy, a key indicator of the importance attached to gender equality.
He said for Africa, collective responsibility to maintain peace was understood as a basis to unlock the continents full potential.
President Geingob reminded the Assembly that Namibia was a child of international solidarity, midwifed by the UN
“During the darkest days of our fight for independence, the government and people of Cuba came to our aid, shedding their blood for our liberation, resulting in the consequential Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, which led to negotiations, elections and eventually, freedom,” he said. “It is in this spirit of profound kinship we share with the Cuban people that we renew our call for the lifting of the decades old, outdated, ineffective and counterproductive [US] economic and financial embargo of Cuba. The time is now to demonstrate the leadership required to bring prosperity and peace to all the world’s people. It is time to lead in the spirit of peace, in the spirit of equality and in the spirit of sustainability. It is time to make the United Nations relevant to all the world’s people. Let us seize this unique moment in history.”
President Geingob observed that following the end of the Cold War and the old bi-polar dispensation, the world had slowly drifted ever more worryingly towards unilateral action.
“This development goes against one of fundamental tenets of democracy upon which our organisation is built. Democracy might have its flaws but it is by far the best system that enables key values of the United Nations, necessary for sustained inclusive development. It is for this reason that we must embrace multilateralism with greater urgency, to counter unilateral action,” said President Geingob.