Guide to the Namibian Economy 2010, by Robin Sherbourne
Robin Sherbourne's second edition of the Guide to the Namibian Economy was published in the year 2010, exactly at the mid-point between Independence in 1990 and the year 2030 when, according to Vision 2030, Namibia should have caught up economically with the developed world.
There is no doubt that many successes have been achieved in these first twenty years. In broad economic terms, the economy has grown almost every year since 1990, perhaps by an average of 3.6 percent a year. With the population growing by 2.6 percent a year, the average Namibian has become better off. One percent a year compounded over 20 years represents a significant improvement in average living standards. Other official statistics documented in later chapters appear to bear this out. However one juggles the figures (and the IPPR has been in the forefront of scrutinising the data that exists), it does look as if poverty and extreme poverty have declined - even though inequality may not have changed as much as first believed. Furthermore, poverty has declined during a period when the young nation was dealt a severe early test in the form of HIV/AIDS, the impact of which has been painful and protracted and has been mainly responsible for the reduction in life expectancy since 1990. The number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa which can boast such a track record of economic success - especially those emerging from long and bloody struggles to rid themselves of colonialism - are limited if they exist at all. This alone makes Namibia a very special case. Added to the fact that Namibia has successfully held four democratic elections deemed by most observers to be generally free and fair and that the ruling party has successfully engineered a handover of power from a popular Founding Father to a successor who has proved to be a unifying personality only adds to Namibia's record. On the face of it then, a remarkable economic and political success. And yet, for those who believe in the power of economic policy and the importance of institutions, it is hard to pretend that all is well. Because the hallmark of effective institutions is that they produce effective policies across the full range of critical policy areas (even politically difficult ones), that they do this in a reasonable space of time, and that they are able to modify (or ditch altogether) policies that are clearly not working. Any objective analysis cannot avoid coming to the conclusion that there are major concerns on all three fronts. The first concern is that some of the most critical areas of policy remain a policy-free vacuum. After 20 years, Namibia still lacks an overarching Black Economic Empowerment policy and legal framework. For all the talk of industrialisation and economic transformation, Namibia's still lacks a clear industrial policy showing how this is to be achieved. The second concern is that policies take far too long to be designed and implemented. New telecommunications legislation was envisaged way back in 1999 but it took a further ten years until a new Communications Act was finally passed. Cabinet decided on changing domestic asset requirements in 2004 but five years later a satisfactory legal framework is notable by its absence. Mining taxation was a thorny issue badly tackled in 2004 which required a further five years until legal uncertainty was eliminated by a change in the law. The industry is still awaiting a completely revised Minerals Act which has been in the pipeline for at least five years. Namibia passed competition legislation in 2003 but the Competition Commission only came into existence in 2009. Government's Green Scheme was launched in 2003 but by the end of 2009 the whole initiative remained very much in the starting blocks. The third concern is that Namibian policymakers have found it difficult if not impossible to alter policies that are clearly failing to deliver. There is no sign that existing commercial land reform policies are delivering anything other than creating more rural poverty, albeit at immense cost. There is no sign that existing labour policies are helping to generate sustainable and formal employment. If anything the hurdle between informal and formal sectors is being increased. (...)
This is an extract from the book: Guide to the Namibian Economy 2010, by Robin Sherbourne.
Title: Guide to the Namibian Economy 2010
Author: Robin Sherbourne
Publisher: Institute for Public Policy Research
2nd edition. Windhoek, Namibia 2010
ISBN 9789994571208 / ISBN 978-99945-71-20-8
Softcover, 17x24 cm, 380 pages, several tables and bw-photos
Sherbourne, Robin im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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