Eveline de Klerk Swakopmund-Southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland need to revisit their development policies that are aimed at bridging inequality disparities within their respective countries to make tangible progress in this regard. They also need to relook at how they can finance such development projects, and should not be scared to borrow both internationally and domestically in order to see the successful implementation of such projects. This is according to Jean Dupraz, the Unicef’s Principal Advisor on Social Policy for Eastern and Southern Africa. Dupraz was speaking at the high-level Medium Income Countries Experience Sharing Forum that concluded yesterday in Swakopmund. Dupraz says these countries “face a growth paradox characterised by mid to high economic growth, combined with poverty and high spatial, income and gender inequality.” They also experience the ‘middle-income trap’ whereby after reaching a certain level of per capita income, the country cannot move much beyond that income level as its per capita economic growth stagnates where the gains in economic growth are not matched. The forum was created as a strategy by the Regional United Nations Development Group for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and Western and Central Africa (WCA) to support them in collaboration with United Nations for support to enable them to strategically position the United Nations system in the respective countries. Dupraz told New Era that the countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland share similarities in the sense that they are all middle income countries, greatly depending on income generated from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenue. “However one must take note that being classified as a rich-middle income country doesn’t really mean anything, as this is just an artificial category formed by economic development, that if you reach a certain threshold, you are classified as a middle income country,” he said. He added that the reality, despite the threshold being accompanied by remarkable social progress such as the reduction of child mortality, better access to education and poverty reduction especially in these countries, are that they are still some of the most unequal countries in the country. “Hence they experience a challenge with the implementation of development project that leave the biggest chunk of the population socially behind,” he concluded.
2018-02-21 09:18:22 6 months ago