Delivering his second address at the United Nations General Assembly, President Hage Geingob, this week recalled last year’s commitment by UN member states to a new agenda for sustainable development to “join the global drive towards ensuring a life of dignity for all”. “We are all in agreement that effective implementation of this agenda will require coherence and complementarity between global, continental, regional, national and local efforts,” he said, expressing confidence that, “We will spare no effort in working to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty.” Namibia agreed with the notion that the 2030 Agenda, the successor of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), would need, among other things, to integrate economic growth, he said. “We need to talk about inclusive growth that will translate into creation of decent job opportunities for our citizens,” Geingob continued. “In other words, we must do more to move away from the current jobless growth model that prevails in many of our member countries [and] aim to grow our economy in a sustainable and inclusive manner in order to ensure that we effectively tackle the scourge of poverty.”
As a consequence of the slowdown in the global economic cycle, and a fall in commodity prices, the Namibian economy is experiencing a downturn in 2016, following robust growth averaging more than five percent during the preceding five years. “We are mindful that in order to make a meaningful dent in poverty, we need to grow at a higher level,” underscored the President, who expressed optimism about the country’s long-term outlook as the key economic fundamentals. Geingob said Government remains committed to managing the economy in a prudent and responsible manner, and has already instituted expenditure, revenue and structural reform measures to address concerns raised by rating agencies about the long-term outlook of Namibia. “We would like to assure all our partners that there is no risk that Namibia will not honour debt obligation in the near and medium term. In fact, we remain bullish about the country’s economic outlook,” said Geingob. “Moreover, we remain committed to creating conditions in Namibia that will enable full participation of the private sector in the economy.”
He went on to say that Government alone could not shoulder the burden of extending development to all, underscoring the private sector’s crucial role in stimulating economic growth and job creation in the country. Geingob concluded his address by saying that despite the fact that humanity is facing some of the most unprecedented challenges in its history, he is confident that under the United Nations, Namibia would live up to the promise of ensuring a life of dignity for all. “Let us celebrate unity in diversity. Together as people, who realise that we belong to each other, we can bring about change in this world, through this indispensable institution the United Nations and usher in a new era of humanity, characterised by peace, unity and dignity for all the world’s citizens,” he concluded.
Geingob is among the many leaders who will address the general debate of the 71st General Assembly. The Assembly’s high-level segment opened this year with the adoption on Monday of the New York Declaration, as the outcome of the first UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Made up of all the 193 member states of the United Nations, the Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN Charter.