Namibia as a child of international solidarity shall celebrate her 31st independence anniversary from the yoke of colonialism on Sunday 21 March 2021. An independence celebration reflects the recognition of the establishment of the Republic of Namibia as a sovereign, democratic state founded on the principles of democracy, rule of law and justice for all as enshrined in Article 1 of the Namibian Constitution.
It is imperative to annotate that the independence celebration of any nation serves as a yardstick and scale which measures the country’s progress in terms of socio-economic development and in the same vein spell out the challenges encountered towards the achievements of tangible developments and national goals the country set for itself.
In a historical context the same moment is used to recognise the gallant sons and daughters of the soil who have sacrificed their lives and youthful years in the struggle for political independence and self-determination.
The independence celebration signifies yet another memorable and eventful era in the history of our existence as a nation, and democratic Namibia is recognised both inside and outside the borders.
For the past 31 years Namibia has enjoyed the political freedom, democracy, peace and stability of which we should persist to jealously safeguard at all times. It’s on that basis that I implore all young people to reflect on the political and economic milestones undertaken towards the realisation of the millennium goal Vision 2030, which is nine years beyond the timeline.
As of the past three decades we have embarked on the second phase of the struggle, defined by economic emancipation, thus, it’s the collective civil duty of every citizen to strive and outsmart the notion of economic dependency syndrome and champion the agenda of economic independence free from external control and political manipulations.
This can only be realised once we have established a common market as Africans with a common Afro-currency. For the past 31 years the government has been committed in ensuring that infrastructure developments such as road infrastructure and energy distribution that create a conducive business environment and promote tourism continue to receive its utmost attention to be advanced in all 14 regions.
Potable water has reached far remote areas within reasonable periods and health facilities are accessible due to road infrastructure development. Decentralisation of government services to the far remote areas is an evident development and the government is still committed to the cause. However, the decentralisation of anti-corruption services and the office of the ombudsman needs urgency to pre-empt and curb all sorts of social ills such as corruption, as the public could easily report the corrupt activities occurring in their vicinities.
Free primary education which was realised in 2015 is a commendable effort from the government, however 31 years into independence the country’s plentiful natural resources such as minerals and marine resources should have been utilised to fund free tertiary education in critical skills urgently needed in the job market to advance its economic development.
The independence celebration should remind all Namibian youths to be passionately committed to the cause of the economic development of our country through solution-driven approaches with practical resolutions to the socio-economic challenges of the day.
Agriculture remains the most accessible economic sector to boost the country’s economic growth which has suffered from the world economic downturn, however, agricultural sciences and food security continue to be at the periphery of the youths’ career choices. Indeed, the economic growth is also challenged by a lack of legal frameworks to protect domestic trades and markets against unscrupulous investors who compete with local traders.
Local products are confined to open markets exposed to the sunshine and rainfall as multinational companies continue to dominate the market. We should be mindful that any sort of development can only be achieved through the establishment of unity of purpose to safeguard against all forms of retrogressive tendencies and negativities attributed to our beliefs, tribal inclinations, political differences and ideological disconnections.
Thus, challenges pertaining to the economy cannot be left to the government alone, it requires collective efforts from all sectors – be it private or non-governmental organisations, including churches.
Covid-19 has evidently become the stumbling block in the economic development as of last year 2020 and it’s mandatory to put it into consideration of every aspect of development one would like to undertake. Climate change, which has given birth to periodic drought, places our economy at risk, leaving our farmers hopeless with no desired outputs and as a result it builds up stress upon commercial and subsistence farmers. Unemployment among the youth stands at 46.1% due to oversupply of certain skills into the saturated job market, as a result of ineffective control of the skills supplied against the market demands. Indeed, much needs to be done to absorb the unemployed graduates of whom many studied with government loans, while few efforts are made to create a job market through value addition and reinvesting in the government.
The country’s mineral and marine resources would create massive employment in First World countries but we have a shortage of industries to add value to our resources and aid to expand our markets.
After 31 years of independence English as an official language dictates and stratifies which students should go to vocational institutions and which ones should seek admission at universities, which has shattered and disavowed youths with potential to realise their dreams and contribute greatly to economic advancements.
As we are only left with nine years down the timeline to Vision 2030, there is need to shift from ideological advancement and migrate to economic advancement. This can be realised if we ban the import of skills and products locally available in the country, so that we increase the country’s GDP and secure employment for Namibian youths by Namibians.