The EOS Capital Executive chairman, Johannes !Gawaxab has while hailing the achievements the country has made over the past 26 years pointed to the challenges that still need to be resolved. He said the country has to face off with inequality and poverty, unemployment, education and health outcomes, land and housing supply, infrastructure development, economic diversification, country’s competitiveness, consumer indebtedness and trade deficit. “Namibian society is far from equal with half of the population earning less than 20% of the income,” he said, adding that the country ranks among the most unequal globally in income distribution with poverty affecting 609 000 Namibians. “Namibia is still very unequal with 10% of the population earning 2% of income and 50% earning 19% of income. This improved from 1993/1994 when 10% earned almost none of the income and 50% earned 7%,” he said.
He warned that hunger situation has gotten worse in the country since 2005 with unemployment being high mostly among youth and women. !Gawaxab has regretted that Education and health outcomes are poor given the amount that is spend on them with education budget for 2016/17 standing at N$ 16.2bn while health budget is at N$7.23bn. “A third of rural Namibians don’t have access to land for grazing or crops… and a quarter of all Namibians live in improvised housing,” he regretted. While 500,000 Namibians live in improvised houses, the Namibia
Housing Enterprise had a housing backlog of 100,000 houses in 2013, increasing at 3,700 per annum, he noted. Quoting the DHL Global Connectedness Index 2014 among others, he said the country was not well connected globally, ranking 116th out of 140 countries surveyed. !Gawaxab said competitiveness of the country was on the decline and urged for a turnaround. This he said could come about with increased focus on Higher education and training, Technological readiness, Business Sophistication and Innovation. However, he hailed the country for having advanced in different areas since independence. Macro-economic and monetary picture has improved; International reserves have increased with government debt lower than peers; Cost of capital has fallen; Deepened the capital market; Strengthened financial institutions; Net FDI has increased steadily and is doing well in comparison to peers; Disposable income of Namibians has risen; Poverty and inequality have reduced resulting in an increase in consumption; Growth in compensation of employees supported the growth in private consumption expenditure; Labour productivity has improved on a per unit basis; and Namibia is a model of leadership transitions, he said.