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(...) Good morning to all of you.

Income and wealth disparities remain a global and local concern. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report of 2017, the growing increase in income and wealth distribution is the trend most likely to determine global developments over the next decade. Furthermore, a report released by Oxfam on the 22nd of January this year, states that 82 percent of the wealth generated in 2017 went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world population saw no increase in their wealth.

Namibia is no exception to income disparities and inequalities. In fact, according to the World Bank - in terms of the Gini Coefficient - Namibia is unfortunately one of the countries with the highest levels of income disparities in the world. Yes, since 1990, we have made good progress in reducing poverty, with the overall poverty rate declining from 70 percent in 1993/94 to 18 percent in 2015/16. However, the fall in income disparities as measured by the Gini-Coefficient, has only seen a marginal decline from 0.70 to 0.58 during the same period. This amply demonstrates that while poverty and income disparities are inter-related, the two should not be conflated.

With poverty on the decline, the argument is advanced that there is no need to proceed with reforms aimed at addressing underlying structural inequality. This argument is faulty. A World Bank Report on the Distributional Impact of Fiscal Policy in Namibia, released in 2017 argues correctly that the main reasons for the decline in poverty and the minimal decline in income disparity may be attributed to Government interventions, such as our relatively progressive tax policy and a system of comprehensive social safety nets. In terms of the progressiveness of our tax system, the World Bank report states that the top ten percent income earners accounts for 70 percent of tax collection. The Namibia Statistics Agency reinforces the earlier point I made in its 2009/10 Report on Income and Expenditure. It highlights that about 16 percent of the population directly and indirectly benefited from social grants back then.

Don’t forget an elemental fact: these grants are directly funded by the state from the national budget. In the current Financial Year - that is 2017/18 - an amount of N$6.7 billion was allocated for the administration of various social safety nets.

We are proud that we are able to cater for most of our vulnerable citizens, through social grants. But we cannot build a prosperous nation around that model. We have to address the underlying structural impediments, which make it difficult if not impossible for many Namibians to effectively participate in the economy, and engage in wealth creating opportunities.

Income inequality is aggravated by our unique political history, including the burning land question. It is an unfortunate reality and daily experience - black Namibians continue to bear the biggest brunt from this dark period of our history. It is why we will intensify corrective interventions during the remaining period of the Harambee Prosperity Plan. Later this year, we will convene the second Land Conference. The conference will aim to deal with inefficiencies and challenges around land redistribution; restitution and tenure. I shall not dwell on that here.

The NEEEF consultations and the implementation of the strategy constitute a necessary intervention in dealing with structural inequality, of which income disparities and lack of participation of the black majority in the economy remain a glaring legacy of our past. We will not allow the status quo to continue.

Please, click here for a pdf version of the President's sptatement on NEEEF


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H.E. Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia opens the 7th Session of the
6th Parliament, Windhoek on 13 February 2017:
I am pleased to be here this afternoon to mark the Opening of the 7th Session of the 6th Parliament under the theme, “Enhancing partnership to strengthen good governance in Namibia.”

As you are aware, the opening of Parliament is a ceremonial event and I will therefore not dwell on a detailed accountability report, which will be comprehensively presented during the State of the Nation Address. I will rather use the opportunity to highlight important aspects of our governance architecture, in line with your theme for the year.

During the official opening of Parliament last year, I briefly introduced the concept of the “trinity”. In the context of Institutions, the “trinity” is reflected in our Executive, Judiciary and Legislature, which operate inter-dependently. I had the honour to open the Legal Year for the Judicidiary on Wednesday last week and the following day I opened the First Executive meeting for the year. Today, it is once again my honour to preside over the opening of the Legislative year.

It is apt that we focus our attention on strengthening good governance, or what I term effective governance. It is of utmost importance that members of this august House pay particular attention to the agenda for the year and ensure that the Bills tabled are thoroughly debated and passed timeously.

During the National Elections just over three years ago, the People of Namibia exercised their democratic right to elect me as the President of the Republic of Namibia and yourselves, as Members of Parliament. We were elected to govern on behalf of the People who, through the voting process, delegated their sovereign power to us. I therefore repeat this important phrase – That we are first and foremost accountable to the People – to serve their interest and not our personal interests.

Our ability to govern effectively will face scrutiny this year and that is why I have declared the year 2018 the Year of Reckoning. We have the responsibility to demonstrate that we are committed to administer the Organs of State - for the People and by the People. Our ability to meet these expectations will face the ultimate judgment in 2019, when the People will either extend our mandate to govern on their behalf, or rescind that mandate by voting us out of office.

Serious work therefore awaits all of us this year, as the Nation will be watching. I am informed that a total of twenty (20) bills are likely to be tabled in Parliament during this year. I have learnt with disappointment that only nineteen (19) Bills were passed, out of the forty (40) Bills tabled during the last session. I look forward to quality debate around these Bills, such as the Education Bill; Plant Breeders and Farmers’ Rights Bill; Financial Institution and Market Bill and Prevention and Combating of Torture Bill, to name but a few.

I expect that this august House, in its deliberations, will keep in mind the Executive theme for the year, that of Reckoning, which includes due recognition for delivery and consequences for non-delivery.

Please click here to open the full speech in a pdf format....

Please click here to open the pdf format of the President's Statement on the occasion of the Opening of the Legal Year 2018...

Namibia congratulates Gawanas, Ashipala-Musavyi on UN appointments

The Southern Times, Jan 17, 2018, by Ellen Shihepo


Please click here to read the official Press Statement by Hon. Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation on the appointment of Advocate Bience Gawanas and Ambassador Ashipala-Musavyi

Windhoek – The Namibian Ministry of International Relations on Tuesday congratulated Advocate Bience Gawanas on her appointment as new UN Special Advisor for Africa by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

In her new position as Special Advisor on Africa, Adv Gawanas follows in the footsteps of African luminaries such as the illustrious and distinguished diplomats and scholars that includes Professor Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria; Ambassador Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, former Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Botswana to the UN who served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Namibia during the implementation of Resolution 435 in 1989.

Bience GawanasAdv Gawanas (picture left side) becomes the first woman to be appointed to that exalted position taking, over from Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt. The ministry further congratulated its permanent secretary, Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi (below right side), on her appointment as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Amb Selma Ashipala Masavyi

“Since assuming office as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, I made it my priority to advance the case for Namibian citizens to join international organisations, including the UN, AU and the Commonwealth Secretariat,” said Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah in a statement. “I am proud that our collective lobbying efforts at the ministry, with the support of friends, have paid off handsomely with the appointment of Adv Gawanas and Ambassador Ashipala-Musavyi.”

Gawanas was the AU’s first woman Commissioner for Social Affairs for eight years. Ashipala-Musavyi was Namibia’s first resident Permanent Representative for the UN office in Vienna, Austria.

Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is Namibia’s deputy prime minister, also commended the UN, saying that “the government of Namibia expresses appreciation to UN Secretary General Guterres for selecting Adv Gawanas and Amb Ashipala-Musavyi from amongst equally qualified candidates.”

President Hage Geingob wishes all Namibians a Happy New Year

In his New Year Message 2018, H.E. Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, calls on his fellow Namibians to "prepare to move forward" as "the hands of time are ready to take us into the new year".

While one could look at the future as a time of anxiety, one could also lookPresident NewYearMessage at it as a time of hope and new opportunities, he says: "Ahead of us lie 12 new chapters and 365 new chances."  

He encourages his fellow compatriots to commit to several resolutions, such as taking part "in building our house" and thus make 2018

a year of hope,

a year of clean environment,

a year of health, peace and love,

a year of shared prosperity.

The President calls on all Namibians to fight poverty and corruption. He emphasises that government must make land available and connect more Namibians to basic services like water, sanitation and electricity, and assures that further developments and upgrades in and of the country "must take place in a transparent and accountable manner." 

The President refers to his 2017 Year End Press Conference on 13 December (see here...), and reaffirms that 2018 "will be the Year of Reckoning", i.e. to take stock and "be accountable for our achievements and shortcomings".

He reminds all public servants and government officials that "we are occupying positions of trust and must act accordingly".

The President appeals to all Namibians to "take 2018 with the 'handle of faith'".

To watch the President's full New Year 2018 message, please click here...


MEDIA RELEASE, 15 December 2017


Namibia notes with grave concern major change in US policy recognizing Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel, Namibia wishes to unequivocally reaffirm its unflinching support for the UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions, 181 (1947) and 242 (1967), respectively. Both these and subsequent resolutions affirmed that Jerusalem would be the capital of the future Palestinian State and the State of Israel. United Nations Resolutions are based on the following principles: A Palestinian State and an Israeli State based on the 1967 lines; Jerusalem as the capital of both States; an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories; and the return of Palestinian refugees. Click here to read the full statement....

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