Geingob calls for equal partnerships in development

namib times 14 july 2015

WINDHOEK, 21 April 2015 - President Hage Geingob emphasising a point while answering questions from the opposition parties shortly after his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) in the National Assembly Chamber on Tuesday. This is President Geingob's first SoNA after he assumed presidency on 21 March 2015. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA
President Geingob'(Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

President Hage Geingob (pictured) has called for new partnership agreements between deve-loped and developing countries, where all parties are considered equal. Geingob said this on Monday in a statement prepared for delivery at the Third International Conference on Finan-

cing for Development underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He called for a partnership based on equality, transparency and mutual trust.

“Let us relegate to the dustbin of history, those partnerships where people sitting in boardrooms in the developed world dictate terms that are forced upon us such as what transpired during the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations (with the European Union),” he said.

Namibia agreed to sign the EPA in July 2014, and negotiations on the EPA successfully ended last year;

the parties are waiting to sign the documents this year.

The EPA is a comprehensive agreement with the whole Southern African Developing Community

(SADC) EPA Group, and gives member states the opportunity to have duty and quota-free access to the European Union.

Geingob said development financing and the mechanisms that govern it should also change and become relevant to the realities of the time.

He noted that inequality is one of the greatest challenges developing nations are facing at present, and it has the potential to undermine the efforts to promote sustainable development, not only on the domestic front but also in the world in general.

“It is possible that if we pull together as humanity, under the umbrella of the UN, we will be able to arrest the increase of poverty in

developing countries and open the doors towards a future of shared prosperity and global prosperity,

where no country or citizenthereof shall feel left out,” he said.

Geingob said despite Namibia’s significant achievement in improving the economy of the country, the income gap between the majority of the people and the few with access to economic resources is increasing.

He said it is for this reason that Namibia has declared all-out war on poverty, and in order to fight this poverty war, the country need to accelerate the rate of economic growth trade and investment.However, there can be no growth without financing, said the Namibian leader. Geingob said there is a need to grow the economy at a rate higher than five per cent by significantly investing in various sectors such as energy, road, rail and telecommunications.

“Without these supporting infrastructures our firms cannot be competitive,” he said. The president stressed that the country need significant financing in order to develop the critical infrastructure as a step towards taking Namibia to the next level of development.

He noted that Namibia has significant natural resources, however, people do not eat natural resources, adding that people want food and access to basic services, quality health and quality education.

The head of state said the country needs to unlock the wealth in Namibia for the benefit of all Namibians.

Geingob will also use the opportunity at the 3rd Uni-ted Nations (UN) Conference on Financing for Development to call upon the international community to do away with the classification of Namibia as an upper middle-income country.

Geingob says due to the unfair classification of Namibia as an upper middle-income country that narrowly focuses at Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the cost of its distribution, Namibia is unfairly deprived of much-needed concessional development finance.

The President is of the opinion that the classification does not take into account the uneven distribution of wealth in Namibia.
“In Namibia, we have abundant natural resources, however, due to lack of development some of these resources remain dead ca-pital,” he said.

The four-day conference will, among others, deliberate, as members of the UN, on how to finance the post Millennium Development Goals agenda.
“There is no doubt that Namibia has made significant progress in all spheres of socio-economic development during the past two and a half decades.

We are on track towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.

However, Geingob indicated that to take Namibia to the next level of prosperity, as envisioned under Vision 2030 and under the proposed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the country need to significantly scale up resource mobilisation.

The President will also visit several sites in Ethio-pia in order to understand what mechanisms the Ethiopian Government employed to address housing and urban poverty. In addition to attending the conference, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who also attended Geingob’s inauguration in March, has invited him to visit several sites during that period.
Geingob plans to make use of the opportunity to familiarise himself with areas of strategic importance for Namibia.

Geingob’s informative visit comes at a time when Government is faced with problems in addressing the shortage of affordable urban land and housing in the country, while the youth’s frustration of not affording land or housing appearing to be close to a boiling point by just grabbing land. Ethiopia has made significant progress in housing delivery and rural poverty reduction, and Namibia hopes to learn from the East African country.

In addition to the conference and the special outreach on housing and poverty, Geingob will also be engaging in a number of bilateral side events, aimed at cementing Namibia’s relations with its international partners.

Some confirmed events include meetings with the prime ministers of Sweden and Italy, as well as a meeting with the director general of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The President is also expected to solicit meetings with additional strategic partners that could assist Namibia in financing its developmental objectives at favourable terms.

Geingob is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Economic Planning Tom Alweendo, Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa and Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social

Welfare Zephania Kameeta. The conference ends on Thursday.


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