… a new dawn for besieged sports sector
Unlike previous National Development Plans (NDPs), the newly launched 5th National Development Plan, which was officially launched by President Hage Geingob in the capital yesterday, places emphasis on the upliftment and empowerment of the country’s youth through well-structured sport for development programmes.
As it currently stands, the Namibian sports sector currently employs about 15 000 people, including players, administrators, sports goods manufacturers and various service providers within the local sports fraternity.
But the sad part is that despite the massive investment the government has made into the sector over the past 27 years, it continues to lag behind in many respects as its contribution to the country’s GDP is negligible and adds only 1% to overall employment creation.
Seeing that other governments worldwide are increasingly adapting sport for development programmes to encourage social cohesion, integrate marginalized members of society, alleviate poverty and reduce substance abuse and crime, among many other benefits, the government has thus resolved to uplift the country’s youth through similar programmes under Chapter 3 of the newly launched NDP5, which is “Empowering People and Communities through Sport”.
Under section 3.3.5, NDP5 targets to improve Namibia’s opportunities to participate in professional sport with the aim of increasing the sector’s contribution to employment creation from the 0.2% recorded in 2014 to an envisaged 2% by the year 2022.
In itself and as per targeted implementation rate, NDP5 will require each government ministry, office and agency to report back quarterly on the implementation of the targets set out for the next five years, starting now in the 2017/18 financial year through to 2021/22.
Putting special emphasis on sport related programmes, NDP5 plans to build human capacity to expand organised sport and also upgrade and construct sports facilities throughout the country to enable wider access to sport in both rural and urban areas. It also plans to professionalise sport by constructing a high performance centre.
A system that will monitor, research and evaluate the impact of sport in society will also be established. This system will fast-track information about other successful sport for development programmes in other countries that boast a strong track record and research basis.
In a nutshell – especially under sport for development – the government plans to uplift and empower neglected members of society – particularly the youth – through the full professionalising of sport and improve sports infrastructures at all levels countrywide with the ultimate aim of increasing employment creation through sport.