President Hage Geingob yesterday once again lamented Namibia’s classification as an upper-middle-income country, saying the categorisation presents challenges with regards to mobilising resources to finance developmental goals. The head of state voiced the concerns in a pre-recorded statement, delivered yesterday during the United Nations meeting on financing for sustainable development.
“The World Bank formula, which divides our GDP by our small population, thereby deriving a high per capita income, places us at a disadvantage, as this classification fails to account for historic injustices that have resulted in highly skewed income distribution,” Geingob told world leaders.
Therefore, he said, it is pertinent that countries with a unique situation such as Namibia should have access to assistance commensurate with needs on the ground. The upper-middle-income status categorises countries with a gross national income (GNI) per capita of US$4 046 (N$68 700) to US$12 535 (N$213 000).
“As a way to facilitate the needed evolution of our economic structure, Namibia aims to develop a suite of innovative financial tools, including green, blue, transition bonds and international carbon credits,” Geingob said.
He said Namibia supports debt for climate swaps and endeavour to create conditions for African research and development to allow locally relevant innovation to flourish.
“We look forward to working closely in designing and refining the menu of options to meet the needs of Namibia and other emerging economies facing similar challenges,” said Geingob.
He thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, as well as the United Nations (UN) secretary general António Guterres for organising what he termed an important high-level event.
“Africa is on the march. At present, the Third Wave African leaders are dealing with processes, systems and institutions,” said Geingob, who has been since his days as the prime minister been advocating for the declassification of Namibia as an upper-middle-income country.
However, he said, the challenges of realising the potential of the New Africa have never been greater.
“I have always believed that inclusivity spells harmony but exclusivity spells conflict,” he said.
“Excluding one country from the opportunity to develop will not provide lasting peace. Therefore, let us hold hands in the pursuit of eradicating poverty and reducing inequality, as this is the most crucial and urgent challenge of our time,” he added.
Unfortunately, Geingob said, the Covid-19 pandemic has the potential to set back the fight against poverty by a decade.
However, he said, the scale of economic stimulus packages unleashed as a response to this crisis, presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to forge new pathways of inclusive development and the creation of new industries that Africa’s uniquely young population so desperately needs.
“We hold world-class potential for renewable energy through solar and wind, preconditions for ‘green’ hydrogen production,” Geingob said.
Not wealthy… President Hage Geingob has expressed his displeasure at Namibia’s classification as an upper-middle-income country.
Photo: Emmency Nuukala