The world is changing fast and nations that want to somehow truly control and shape their own economic destinies will need to adapt fast accordingly, otherwise they will remain at the mercy of other nations.
Namibia is no exception and as a young and emerging market economy needs to strategically decide aggressively on how it intends to ride the tide going forward in order to significantly protect and grow its domestic economy for the wholesale benefit of its citizens.
With that said, certain recent but highly important global and domestic events have without any warning ushered in a new wind of change, which will directly require nations to either adapt or continue to suffer within the current status quo of economic dependency.
Namibia recently had for the first time its ‘Invest in Namibia Conference’, which in my opinion was supposed to set the national strategic economic direction the nation would like to take in order to safeguard and grow its domestic economy vis-a-vis the fast changing dynamics of the global world of commerce.
This still however needs to be assessed to see if such outcomes will eventually emerge and be achieved from this excellent initiative.
With that said, I have identified four major international, regional and domestic events which in no particular chronological order have led down prominent geo-political fundamentals that in my opinion will forever change the old world economic order system to a new world economic order system.
One important aspect of the four fundamentals is the alignment of nations to too much national pride and its subsequent over protection of their domestic economies against the rest of the world.
The four identified fundamental global and domestic events of note that will change the face of the global economy visa-a-vis Namibia’s strategic economic future direction are as follows: Britain’s vote to exit from the European Union: The first of these major event is the surprise vote during the month of June 2016 by the British to exist the European Union (EU) based on the strong campaign of “gaining back the true independence of Britain or the total sovereignty of the country” from the influence of external regional institutions. This campaign was democratically successful due to the voting power of the many men and women of Britain who strongly feel left out by the forces of globalisation and to further contain the large potential infiltration of immigrants into their domestic economy.
Although not yet visible, this development will certainly have medium to long-term economic impact to Britain and the rest of the world in the areas of economic trade, tourism and educational opportunities. Britain’s global role as a super power has diminished over the years, but it still weld significant political and economic power and influence on world affairs. There sudden unexpected vote to exist the EU signifies an introspective inward looking which will indirectly inspire other nations to also perhaps build stronger internal institutions which will grow and strengthen their domestic economics through the introduction and implementation of direct socio-economic development policies and programmes.
The recent local and regional elections in South Africa: The second but not necessary overwhelming at this point in time but is highly significant to our domestic economy going forward is the recently held local and regional elections in South Africa which saw the African National Congress (ANC) losing key important metropolitan areas. This new political development down south is not necessary a positive one for the Swapo-led government and to Namibia in general, as it is setting a very serious downward trend for the political and economic future of the ANC. Such regional developments should require pro-active nations to read between the lines and perhaps commence with the necessary national economic developmental interventional programmes to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances. Namibia for some unknown reasons still sadly and strongly relies on the economy of South Africa, even for basic commodity products and services, and should as a sovereign nation going forward come up with serious initiatives that could significantly decrease this reliance over time, as any sense of medium- to long-term economic instability in South Africa will have a negative impact on the Namibian economy. The country therefore needs to holistically and nationally identify and support potential products and services it should be able to produce and provide that will enhance or strengthen the country’s domestic manufacturing and service delivery capacity so as to depend less on South Africa.
The recent US Presidential elections: The third very important event that will forever change the geo-political and economic landscape of the world in so many ways is the recent election of Donald John Trump in the recent US presidential elections on the bandwagon of ‘Making America great once again’. His intended economic stabilisation and growth policies are also greatly and closely aligned to ensuring that the domestic economy of the United State is enhanced to be much more competitive against the rest of the world. This is however done in particular to contain China’s aggressive globalisation economic drive. President-elect Trump has further proposed new legislation that will if implemented accordingly change the geo-political and trade relationship of the United States with the rest of the world.
The recent mid-term budget review cuts introduced by the government of Namibia: Last but not least is the recent abrupt cutting of the government’s operational and capital expenditure budget by N$5.5 billion. This negative development, if aligned with global events, should further enable government to introduce new policies and initiatives that will strengthen and grow the nation’s domestic manufacturing and service provision capacity, which will lead it to be less dependent on the South African economy.
The proposed direction could also ensure that Namibia has a progressive and inclusive proposition to benefit more from its natural resources, so as to efficiently and effectively finance its developmental programmes.
In conclusion, Namibia as an independent and sovereign nation should a strive to formulate and implement internal economic development policies and projects that enable the country to be less dependent, especially on basic commodities and services, so that it has the potential to produce and provide in competition with the rest of the world.
* Pendapala Hangala is an independent socio-economist. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org