Namibians have barely settled into 2017, but already the dark clouds of an economic meltdown is upon us.
There has long been talks that Namibia as a country failed to use its happy times as a platform to prepare for dark times such as these. It seems we mistook our Independence as the end of any form of struggle, in fact, we have lived so comfortably that we do not even know how to deal with the economic storm that threatens to sweep away all the good this country has developed.
Namibia’s economic problems are much bigger than what many of us initially thought, so bad that internal ministerial memos regarding new spending control measures continue to surface-a clear sign of a Government that is battling to stay afloat.
The economic troubles certainly did not start during the era of President Hage Geingob, but that does not mean he is not part of the crew that emptied the country’s coffers. He was the country’s longest serving chief administrator(prime minister), meaning he had the power to give his input on any mooted state expenditure during his time as PM.
During my travels over the festive period, I had a conversation with an old friend whom I have not seen in ages and we could not help but talk about the state of affairs of our beloved Namibia.
He said to me: “Mathias, I do not know why people only blame Hage for the country’s poor economic performance, they all deserve to be blamed. Hage’s only problem is that he bought a car that was about to break down and instead of fixing the car before driving it, he decided to drive it as it is.”
It took me a while to grasp the anecdote, but once I finally got its true meaning I could not agree more.
During last year’s mid-term budget review, the finance minister said all non-essential spending will be slashed, although it is a good move one cannot help but ask why we have a system that makes room for non-essential spending in the first place.
Namibia’s future is not bleak, provided that those in charge of the country’s purse pursue robust and dynamic economic policies that speak to the development needs of the country.
Few Namibians have paid attention to the country’s economy, many of us were all too focused on the politics of the country because it seems more entertaining than focusing on the economy.
As Donald Trump takes the Presidential baton from Barack Obama today, the world is eager to see the direction Trump will take in terms of economic and political policies.
From what we know so far, Trump will surely pursue an inward looking policy that will favor his own country before any other. Surely he cannot be blamed for wanting the best for the people who elected him. However, where does this leave us as Africa (Namibia in particular) considering the fact that we have been at the receiving end of so much aid, grants and donations from the US since Independence?
It is high time African states begin omitting grants and donations from the budgeting processes, such privileges should only act as a supporting structure to African economies.
Without even having slept in the White House, Trump has already faced harsh criticism without being given a chance to prove his worth.
Seasoned politicians in the US are still scratching their heads wondering how they lost elections to a billionaire political rookie who constantly ignores unwritten political rules that dictates politicians to sweet talk the electorate. Trump has had none of that during his campaign, he remains a pragmatist who says what he thinks, many thought his utterances would cost him a poll victory but it was not the case.
Developing nations such as Namibia should particularly observe how the US-China and US-Russia relations are handled once Trump takes control.
These three states have enormous impacts on our economic stability, and it is therefore our 3call for smooth relations between them.
As Namibia enters the 2017 groove, it is my hope that like Donald Trump, all Namibians will work together to ‘Make Namibia Great Again’.