WINDHOEK - The Economic Association of Namibia (EAN), in collaboration with the Hans Seidel Foundation and The Namibian newspaper, will be hosting its annual economic conference, under the theme of ‘Inequality’ on September 5, 2018 at the Safari Hotel. The conference will focus on questions surrounding Namibia’s persistent high levels of inequality, as well as look at ways to reduce inequality in a pragmatic manner, through a strong focus on improved opportunity for Namibia’s people.
The EAN believes, and it is widely accepted, that the high-income inequality in the country, as reflected in the Gini-coefficient and other measures of inequality, is only a symptom of imbalances embedded in the socio-economic system of the country.
“Underlying factors that drive inequality such as access to quality education, health services, land and capital resources need to be unraveled, if Namibia is to move forward towards resolving this challenge,” read a statement from the EAN’s Programme Manager, Cons Karamata.
Karamata noted that the EAN conference seeks to bring pragmatism, information and balance to the debate around inequality and its causes, as well as its solutions. Specific topics to be covered during the conference include wealth, poverty and inequality, how to ensure economic growth, poverty reduction and improving equality of opportunity; education policy, how to ensure that all Namibian children receive a world-class education; urban land and access to housing, how to develop opportunities and reap the socio-economic benefits of universal access to housing; land tenure and commercial land, how can Namibia unlock the value of communal farmland, improve land equality and speed up the process of land restitution; corruption, how can corruption be best contained and controlled in Namibia, and how to ensure that tax payers and public service recipients get the best possible service via the state; property rights, why property rights remain the cornerstone of successful economies, and how their erosion inevitably results in economic upheaval.
“We have invited various national and international speakers to deliberate on the above topics while about 250 participants are expected at the conference,” said Karamata.
In organising this conference, the EAN says that it aims to dovetail with the government’s current energy to reduce inequality and recent efforts by key government officials to bring in outside ideas and assistance, which is indicative of an open door for increased collaboration between the public and private sectors and the donor community, in the interest of the country’s continued developmental progress.
The conference will be officially opened by Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy, while the speakers include high ranking government officials, private sector actors and members of the civil society.
It is expected that the conference will come up with concrete ideas and strategies on how to create a level playing field and improved opportunities for Namibia’s people with the aim of achieving a more egalitarian society.