The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Why Aspire to Be Poor? - UN Representative

ONE the biggest challenges for Namibia is to make its available financial and other resources work for its people instead of bemoaning its middle-income status that makes international support more cumbersome, suggested United Nations Resident Coordinator Musinga Bandora.

"Why aspire to be poor?" questioned Bandora on Friday, saying Namibia's status should remain as such, but that the country has to deal with its inequalities internally.

Despite its status, Namibia still has the highest income disparity in the world; some of its social indicators are worse off than some countries classified as low-income countries.

The equity agenda thus becomes critical, and instruments like the successive national development plans important tools to address inequalities, Bandora said.

The strands of the fourth National Development Plan (NDP 4) is economic growth, poverty reduction, job creation, and the reduction of income inequalities.

Bandora said UN agencies in the country are in discussion with Government on how to assist it in the implementation of NDP 4 in sectoral areas through technical assistance.

"The focus must be to make money in the country work for more people," said Bandora.

Namibia's national budget for the 2012/13 financial year exceeds N$44 billion.

To "turbo-charge" economic growth, suggested Bandora, is to concentrate on the labour-intensive sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, and hence promote food and nutritional security.

He agreed that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is not necessarily a measure of development, saying other factors should be taken into consideration as well.

Also discussed by Bandora was the outcomes of the Rio+20 conference, which he said had broke new ground for a green economy.

Some agreements reached at the conference aråe on key issues such as job creation through inclusive growth.

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