The newly launched Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) seeks to increase the population’s longevity, while making investments in areas that would fortify the country against expected demographic changes.
The plan, launched by President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday, is, for the next five years, to pump investments into sectors that would allow the younger generations to have better knowledge and skill, while living in a country whose economy has a high income from the export of locally manufactured goods, and value addition services.
Most importantly, though, the NDP5 is, in itself, different from the previous four development plans, especially that the plan takes into consideration lessons learnt from the implementation of previous plans.
It requires each government ministry, office and agency to do quarterly report-backs on the implementation of the targets set out for the next five years. Indeed, gone are the days of low implementation rates and plans not accompanied by proper monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
It would be the duties of the accounting officers at government ministries, agencies and offices to present these progress reports to the National Planning Commission (NPC) on time. The NPC itself would be submitting quarterly progress reports to Cabinet, so as to track implementation of targets set in the development plan.
“I have great hope that NDP5 would go a long way towards propelling our country towards an advanced development stage with the capacity to design and produce sophisticated technologies,” said President Hage Geingob at the launch of the report yesterday.
Over the next five years NDP5 seeks to increase the population’s longevity – NDP5 does actually peg life expectancy at 67.5 years by 2022. Current life expectancy is 58 years.
It wants to decrease, to 12 percent, the current percentage of Namibian households living in improvised houses. As of 2016 the figure of households living in improvised houses was at 19 percent.
It also aims at having the manufacturing sector contribute nearly N$21 billion to GDP, raising the country’s competitiveness score to 4.2. It aims at increasing exports to more than N$116 billion.
Further, NDP5 plans to more than halve the current 25 percent of the Namibian population who have no food security – it aims at 12 percent by 2022.
Also by 2022 the share of the national livestock production marketed should have increased to 10 percent from the current 4 percent.
The rural quality of life and socio-economic well-being need to have improved, with rural poverty having declined from 37 percent to 25 percent. And so should the rural unemployment rate decrease to only 20 percent of the rural population by the end of the current development plan cycle.
NDP5 also seeks to increase investment in education, health, housing and integration of disadvantaged persons into the mainstream economy. This is because Namibia’s population is expected to reach 3.5 million by the year 2030, which means the majority of citizens will be young.
“A young population provides an opportunity and a challenge. Our budgetary outlays will continue to deliberately discriminate in favour of our social sectors, including education, health and housing,” said Geingob.
“Our preparation for this demographic change must begin now. In order to give an early start to the toddlers today, Namibia will aggressively invest in early childhood development during the NDP5 period.”