President Hage Geingob has informed international partners that Namibia will not default on its debt obligations in the near and medium term.
In fact, Geingob is of the opinion that the leadership remains ‘bullish’ about the country’s economic outlook, which was recently revised from stable to negative by Fitch Ratings agency.
The Namibian Head of State made the remarks when he took to the stage at the ongoing 71st session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York yesterday.
“As a consequence of the slowdown in the global economic cycle and a fall in commodity prices, the Namibian economy is experiencing a downturn in 2016,” explained Geingob. He added that this follows a period of robust growth, averaging more than five percent during the preceding five years.
“We are mindful that in order to make a meaningful dent on poverty, we need to grow at a higher level.
We remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for Namibia, as the key economic fundamentals, including fiscal sustainability and sustainability of our external current account, remain intact.”
Geingob said testament to this is the fact that Fitch recently reaffirmed Namibia’s international default rate at BBB- and bond issuance in the South African and Namibian market at AA+.
“The government remains committed to managing the economy in a prudent and responsible manner and has already instituted expenditure, revenue and structural reform measures to address concerns raised by the rating agency. We would like to assure all our partners that there is no risk that Namibia will not honour its debt obligations in the near and medium term.”
Moreover, he stressed that the administration remains committed to creating conditions in Namibia that will enable full participation of the private sector in the economy. It is his view that government alone cannot shoulder the burden of bringing development to all and that the private sector has a crucial role to play in stimulating economic growth and job creation in our country.
In terms of social justice, Geingob said he is concerned by the fact that the world is witnessing the highest levels of forced displacement of people since the founding of the United Nations. He noted that the current refugee crisis needs immediate attention and collective action.
“We need to determine the basic factors which cause people to flee in such large numbers, so that we can tackle the root causes rather than the symptoms of this evil. Our belief is that no one must feel left out for we are aware that inclusivity spells peace, while exclusivity spells war.”
Geingob also said climate change is a global problem that requires a global response from both the developed and developing world. He also announced that Namibia has ratified the Paris Agreement, which represents a milestone in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change.
“Namibia is one of the driest countries in the world. Consequently, we have undertaken ambitious domestic actions on climate change, including on mitigation and adaptation, to surmount the losses and damage arising from climate change-induced natural disasters.
“At the same time, we are developing renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind and hydro-electricity production. In tackling this crisis, the principle of common but differentiated responsibility must be upheld.”
He also announced the country’s offer to host the African Regional Hub of the Green Climate Fund at an appropriate time. “As you may recall, Namibia came second to South Korea in the bid to host the world headquarters of the Green Climate Fund. As a consolation prize, we would therefore be honoured to host the African Regional Hub of the Green Climate Fund.”
Geingob then said the UN system should serve as a banner of transparency and accountability and reiterated his earlier call for the reform of the UN system, including the composition of the Security Council.
“The reform of the Security Council cannot be reduced to the aspirations of a few countries. The Security Council is too important an organ to be left to the interests of a few.”
“Namibia remains fully committed to the African Common Position on UN Reform. We are of the opinion that the Security Council should reflect the broad membership of our organisation. Fairness and justice warrant that Africa be part of the equation.”