Namibia Has the ‘Unholy Trinity’ – PM

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK Prime Minister Nahas Angula has described Namibia as being characterised by the “unholy trinity of poverty, unemployment and skewed income distribution”. “Some 60 percent of our citizens are living bellow the breadline. They eke out their living at the subsistence level,” the PM said when he opened a Black Economic Empowerment workshop in Windhoek yesterday. At the occasion the Prime Minister also introduced a South African Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) expert Jeffrey Ndumo from the South African Department of Trade and Industry to share his country’s experience on BEE. Ndumo, a Director of BEE Partnerships – between government and the private sector – was introduced to delegates from various private and public institutions who attended yesterday’s interactive workshop on BEE, an effort anticipated to give rise to the process of finally formulating a legal framework for BEE in Namibia. Like South Africa, Namibia also inherited a legacy of apartheid and colonialism with great inequality in wealth still persisting in both countries, particularly Namibia. At worst in Namibia, failure to redress the imbalances and bring the previously advantaged people into the economic mainstream is mostly ascribed to the absence of a legal framework for BEE. “Between 20 to 30 percent of our people are unemployed. Unemployment affects the young people below the age of 30 years. “In particular, unemployment affects the women, the uneducated youth and the rural folks.” Angula pointed out that something needed to be done to undo this socio-economic condition, which was diametrically opposed to the ideals and the ethos of the Namibian Constitution. “It is therefore of great imperative that measures be put into place to synchronise the socio-economic condition with the ideals of the Constitution,” he stated, adding that the workshop was signalling the start of a process to devise a comprehensive policy on redress and redistribution. He said further: “Such a policy will enable the government to devise a broad based programme for inclusive empowerment. The importance of this workshop cannot therefore be over emphasised.” The premier expressed his gratitude to the Namibia Preferential Procurement Council for joining the Office of the Prime Minister in organising the workshop, and MTC for funding it.