Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Zephania Kameeta has urged the country to work hard to free itself from the shackles of poverty, ignorance and hunger.
“Poverty is the cross-cutting challenge and thus all ministries are responsible for poverty reduction,” he said.
Kameeta was speaking yesterday at the launch of the Poverty Mapping and Namibia Index of Multiple Deprivation report in Windhoek.
He said the need for poverty reduction is one of the global challenges, however, finding a pragmatic and workable solution has even proven to be more challenging.
“Economic growth has been proposed the world over as a response but it has been recognised that economic growth has not always been pro-poor or it has not been inclusive enough, meaning that the fruits of growth have not been widely shared particularly among the poor, and as a result, poverty levels continue to rise unabated,” said Kameeta.
He emphasised the fact that it has been proven that in Namibia’s growth has not been exclusive enough and it has been a job-less growth, as it is mainly driven by the mining sector. “For growth to have an impact on poverty, it should take place in the sector where the poor work, such as the agriculture and it should occur in places where the poor live, such as rural areas,” said Kameeta.
He emphasised that the country should not rely on growth for poverty reduction, but rather to come up with targeted poverty policy interventions, which are continuously reviewed to assess progress towards poverty targets.
Kameeta went on to say that for the government, the target is to reduce the proportion of severely poor individuals from 15.8 percent to below 10 percent by 2017.
“Namibia is a member of the international community and as such we committed ourselves to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG),” he said.
He said under the MDG, goal number one is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
“The first target under this goal by 2015 is to reduce by half the proportion of the people living on less than a dollar per day while the second target was by 2015 to reduce half of the proportion of the people who suffer from hunger,” he said.
“In our vision, V2030, we set ourselves a target of improving the quality of life of our people. As a result, under the Third National Development Plan one of our targets, target number 15 was eradication of extreme poverty and hunger,” he added. According to him, under the National Development Plan (NDP4), Namibia has three high-level goals and has recognised that there are foundation issues that need to be addressed if the country is to achieve its goals.
“All these targets are at national level, where in the past you have indicated that we are making progress though not at all levels expected,” he said.
“It is government’s hope that this progress has trickled down to the lower levels, both at regional and constituency levels,” he added.
Kameeta emphasised that poverty has always been a priority for government. However, he said the only missing link has been an institution solely responsible for poverty eradication.