No End to Poverty in the South

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By Frederick Philander KEETMANSHOOP Since the 1993/4 finding and statistics of the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey statistics became known, the poverty levels of communities in the country have increased. So said the minister of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, John Pandeni, on Friday evening during a fund-raising effort for the Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency. Pandeni delivered the keynote address at the occasion on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba who is presently in China for the Forum on China/Africa Cooporation meeting with more than 50 other African Heads of State. “What is the true reflection of the reality, are we worse off or are we doing well as a nation? I am made to believe that Namibia is relatively prosperous and we are ranked as a ‘low middle income country’ based on per capita income of over US$2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000. This is so because Namibia’s economy is dualistic and therefore the average income cannot be spread across all citizens since income levels are not the same,” said Pandeni, who encouraged those present to contribute towards the erection of a horseshoe market for Keetmanshoop, a project that was initiated by Karas Regional Councillor Hilma Nicanor. The expected ‘rich tycoons’ did not pitch up at the event which ended with a total of N$112ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 being raised for a project in need of an amount of N$800ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000. “The report then stated that the annual income of a German-speaking Namibian was about 20 times that of an Oshiwambo-speaking Namibian and more than 23 times that of a San citizen, whilst the average income of a female-headed household was half of their counterparts. The reality on the ground therefore requires that we address and find amicable solutions to the poverty situation in our country and deal with it so that we meet the objective of Vision 2030 when we would like to see a prosperous Namibian nation,” he said. Pandeni discouraged the people of the South from trying to find solace in alcohol and also warned the youth against the negative effects of foreign influences, habits and customs. “Poverty can be overcome if we all stand and work together. Stop wasting money on alcohol in efforts to forget your problems, which will remain unless we work harder than what the case has been so far in the Karas Region. To the youth I want to say: stop attending the dream world outlets and focus on the positive side of things,” said Pandeni, who urged the region to activate business activities for people to generate income from opportunities on a small and medium enterprise level. “The country’s business people are the engines of growth in our society, and we would like to see this opportunity extended to less fortunate members of our communities. Fund-raising efforts like this contribute to that objective. Funds generated can make significant changes in the lives of some of our people. Sometimes we fear the unknown and sometimes we think these people, if we help them today, may become better and more prosperous business people than us,” Pandeni said. He further informed those present that no business can grow on the back of someone else. “Helping to create small and medium enterprises, needed by business people as retail off-setters of products, the current business community will contribute towards consolidating their own enterprises. It is time for such business people to help others now as well. Let us be seen to be responding to our corporate responsibility,” said Pandeni.