Gender equality key in advancing human development

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Alvine Kapitako
Windhoek

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental dimensions of advancing human development, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said yesterday.
Namibia has a Gender Equality Index (GI value) of 0.474, ranking it 108 out of 159 countries, according to the 2016 Global Human Development Report. In comparison, Botswana and South Africa are ranked 95 and 90, respectively.
“It is necessary to redouble our efforts in eliminating violence against women, affording them good health care and empowering them for better labour force participation,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

“The message here is simple: inequality matters when it comes to poverty eradication,” said the United Nations resident coordinator, Kiki Gbeho, who spoke at the launch of the report.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also said that as the fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5) is being implemented, focus should be on a coherent and multi-stakeholder engagement.

“Such an approach should inform local, sub-national and national level implementation to ensure that policies and programmes do not leave out anybody and that development is strongly people-centric,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

This would empower marginalised and vulnerable people and ensure sustainability and resilience, which are fundamental to human development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, she said.

Gbeho said that in order to build a strong nation that provides a better life for all, multi-stakeholder partnerships are necessary.

“For example, the private sector could help solve the challenge of serving people in hard to reach places by selling goods to distressed areas as well as to poor rural villages,” said Gbeho, who is also the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country representative.

Citing the report, Gbeho said Namibia has effected one of the fastest poverty-rate reductions on the continent.

“Poverty rates have reduced by 10 percentage points in less than a decade. It is also one of the eight countries worldwide to have made a dent on inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient,” said Gbeho.

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