Preliminary figures indicate that First Lady Monica Geingos’ non-profit organisation, the One Economy Foundation, which was launched during a glamorous gala dinner at the Ramatex premises in Otjomuise on Saturday night, managed to raise at least N$4.5 million.
The launch, which was attended by President Hage Geingob, captains of industry and high-ranking government officials, virtually brought the Otjomuise neighbourhood to a standstill as hundreds of influential people flocked to hear what the new foundation has to offer. Cars were backed up for hundreds of metres, congesting traffic.
One Economy, whose slogan is ‘one Namibia, one economy’ aims to build a bridge of opportunity between the formal, urban economy and the informal, rural economy. “It was intentional to have the launch at Otjomuise. There are people here tonight who have never been to Otjomuise before and I must admit that this was a bit of a logistical inconvenience. However, you cannot bring two economies together without some inconvenience,” Geingos told the massive gathering.
The established projects for One Economy Foundation have the notion that opportunity needs to be underpinned by support.
“One Economy is about providing fair opportunity. It’s about providing people with talent with opportunity. Succeeding in life should not depend on where you live and who you know,” said Geingos. She went on to explain some of the reasons for establishing the foundation.
“There are people who want to help but they don’t know how. There are people who want to channel money but they don’t know where and there are people who want to volunteer their time but they do not want to waste it,” said Geingos. The One Economy Foundation, she added, will give people who are willing to help the answers they have been looking for.
The first lady said that one of the main aims of the foundation is to close the income inequality gap by providing opportunities to the majority of Namibians who operate in the informal economy and on the peripheries of the first economy.
“In order to meaningfully address structural poverty and unsustainably high levels of income and wealth inequality, it is critical that we build a bridge of opportunity, facilitating more Namibians to enter or elevate their participation in the first economy,” Geingos explained.
In a nutshell, the foundation aims to facilitate the social and economic participation of identified communities to break aspects of the poverty cycle by highlighting root causes, maximising the potential of as many citizens and to strengthen those that are already on track to become better.
The foundation has a special focus but is not solely limited to informal business owners, rural and township economies, youth empowerment and women empowerment. Each of the foundation’s programmes is aligned to complement key aspects of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) and President Geingob’s declared war on poverty. One Economy has embraced a multi-pronged, four-year strategy and, similarly to the HPP, is based on pillars. One Economy’s pillars are Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development; Integrated Early Childhood Development and Talent Identification; Gender-based Violence, Health; and Institutional Strategic Support Programme.