Sunday 16 May 2021
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Economic stability through Chinese loans ensnares

“A legacy of purposeful leadership has enabled our country to remain united, peaceful and stable” announced the President whilst delivering his Independence Day speech last week in Tsumeb
As a young Namibian, who will continue to age with Namibian independence, I have known peace all my life. I do not know how life was like before 1990 but I have read enough, seen enough and heard enough to know that my generation is fortunate to have only known peace, but I am yet to experience stability.
The President also reflected on the nation-building dream of the liberation struggle by stating that what they fought for was the complete emancipation of each and every Namibian.
This makes one question just how long does it take a nation to emancipate each and every individual citizen? We have had 28 years and statistics show that majority of Namibians are far from emancipated if the unemployment rate is anything to go by. That Namibians are yearning for socio-economic development is by far the most resounding statement in the entire speech. However, this will not become a reality when corruption continues to be excused as so called “allegations and perceptions continuing to tint government. This is because as the President rightly puts it “corruption undermines stability and social cohesion”.
For arguments sake one can affirm that we are stable from a non-violent perspective, however, the ongoing economic recession and the wide gap between the rich and poor in Namibia is all the evidence needed to maintain that the Namibian house reflects an unstable society.
Whilst it is indeed true that we have a lot to be grateful for, considering our history and the painful memories of colonialism and apartheid combined. The reality is that the past twenty-eight years of independence, despite being peaceful have been riddled with gross socio-economic inequality resulting in various manifestations of instability.
Therefore, any aspirations we have towards become a prosperous nation need to be fully grounded in stability.
Before boarding the Presidential jet to China, the President alluded to harbouring high hopes for China to bail us out of the economic rut we are in and I had personal hopes that his excellency would return with actual economic reform lessons from China and instead it appears we might be knee deep in Chinese debts unbeknown to us. China holds boasting rights as a remarkable world class case of economic growth. This is because in 1978, Chinese leaders had to step out of their comfort zones and open the country up to international trade and prioritised the agriculture sector to embrace the so-called socialism with Chinese characteristics which fundamentally is ensuring that no one is left out of being economically emancipated-from the peasant to the politician.
To date China is a global economic leader and whilst our President cannot be faulted for perhaps being too excited that China chose Namibia as one of the two African countries (alongside Zimbabwe) to be granted state visits to Beijing. I harboured high hopes that the sincere need for emancipating our people and attaining the socio-economic stability of our nation will inform the choice to sign any bilateral agreements with China. It would also have been great if the two countries could have agreed on strict measures to combat poaching of our wildlife-especially Rhino and Elephants- being championed by Chinese criminals (with Namibian friends) in our country. But instead we might just find ourselves leasing out our newly built Walvis bay port to repay Chinese loans if what happened in Sri Lanka is anything to go by.
It suffices that my distrust of Chinese interests in the motherland is rather evident and I for one am anticipating detailed clarity on the fine-print in these so-called trade agreements. Yes, we need economic stability but being ensnared in Chinese debt-trap diplomacy is no solution!

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