Jun 28

The NDP6: Promoting Economic Growth and Shared Prosperity

By Josef Kefas Sheehama

The attainment of the Vision depends on the ability to work together and inspire action to meet Namibia’s commitment to leave no one behind throughout its implementation of the Sixth National Development Plan (NDP6).

Namibia has developed a series of development plans as part of the efforts to move the country toward the path of growth and development. The National Development Plan is a country’s national plan that stipulates the country’s medium-term strategic direction, development priorities, and implementation strategies. Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has launched the NDP6 formulation process which will be officially launched in March 2025. The Prime Minister emphasized that the NDP6 serves as the developmental goal framework which creates great significance to Namibia’s planning, especially during unprecedented challenges stemming from the collapse of commodities, inflation rates, and geopolitics. The theme is to Intensify Economic Recovery, Inclusiveness, and Resilience to ensure Quality and Sustainable Development for all Namibians. Hence, the plan aims to ensure that all Namibians attain a decent standard of living through the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality.

The lessons from the Past NDPs and the way forward on how NPD 6 can achieve economic success by the year 2030

Namibia Statistics Agency will conducting the 2023 Population and Housing Census will from 18 September to 03 November 2023. Planning is one of the key and critical aspects of development. It aids policymakers to make pragmatic and realistic development plan. In fact, meaningful planning is largely dependent on reliable and credible available data. The outcome of the census will assist government to be able to ascertain areas of high population density and the kind of essential services such as the provision of water, electricity, construction of roads, schools and hospitals to be provided. It will equally inform government to expand existing facilities at certain areas of the country. The outcome of population and housing census will assist government to identify the social and economic status of the citizens in the country, more importantly, the identification of vulnerable individuals and households. This will help government to devise interventions necessary to leapfrog the vulnerable in our society from their current socio-economic status. The unemployment is one of the headaches for government. However, it can only be effectively addressed based on accurate and reliable data. Therefore, this will aid government to devise realistic strategy to address the employment issue in the country.

The First National Development Plan (NDP1) covers the period 1995-2000, where the main focus is diversification of the economy and consolidation of the achievements within the period. The aid channeled to key socio -economic sectors of vital for sustainable development and poverty reduction, however economic growth and other social indicators are not quite impressive through the period 1995-2000. The Second National Development Plan (NDP 2), 2001/2006 focus on the Macroeconomic, Sectoral and Cross-Sectoral Policies, regional development perspectives, and public sector investment programme. The country economic indicators was impressive, however, decentralization process has been slow and the collaboration between divisions was weak, which often results in escalation of decision-making to the Cabinet, making the resolution of issues needlessly slow and overly bureaucratic.

The Third National Development Plan (NDP3) is a national cross-sectoral plan for the period 2007/2012. Its main objectives include access to land and capital, effective implementation of land reform and increase incomes of resettled farmers, increasing employment opportunities through promotion of rapid economic growth, promote local and foreign investment, increasing investment in education and human resource development amongst other things. Clearly, implementation is hard to get right, ownership of and commitment to change, regular and effective prioritization, and deployment of the right resources and capabilities required. Fourth National Development Plan run from 2012/2017. The NDP4 focuses on foundation of high and sustained economic growth, employment creation and increased income equality. Namibia’s economic framework fails to address poverty, inequality, and unemployment. The Namibia’s 5th National Development Plan (NDP5), 2017/2022. The NDP5 has four key goals such achieve Inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic Growth, build capable and healthy human resources, and ensure sustainable environment and enhance resilience, and promote good governance through effective institutions. The NDP 5 is aligned with expectation of an unprecedented emphasis on private participation in development, but that progress fall behind rhetoric in light of policy inconsistencies.

Furthermore, we need to applaud the Government for positive developments, due to possible good economic policies pursued by the Namibia Government. We take note all shortcomings, but lets us give credit where it due. Therefore, having reviewed these NDP’s, it is not all doom and gloom, and the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Moreover, the Sixth National Development Plan (NDP6) will covers for the period 2025/2030, we need to apply our wisdom to attained V2030. The starting point in any strong prioritization process is a robust fact base, with a clear understanding of the size and nature of each opportunity, its timing, and any impediments to delivery. Prioritization should not be a one-time event, but rather should serve as a core tool to assign resources flexibly as dictated by available facts. Effective implementation pilots are therefore an important investment. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has the potential to transform Namibia’s economy, increase its productivity and enhance its global trade. The government need to invest in human capital by not only hiring the best, but also empowering our workforce, particularly, people with disabilities, women and those in local markets, to rise to senior leadership levels. Namibia needs leaders and managers who are abreast of developments and who understand what the Fourth Industrial Revolution means to workers and what opportunities it holds, as well as what will be needed in terms of skills knowledge and attitude to capitalize on it. Technology will be a major focus area to pursue economic growth in what is likely to remain a highly challenging economic and geopolitical environment. Therefore, we need a sense of ownership, wherever we are, the resources of our country are our own and we need to foster this passion to stop considering someone else responsible for it.

To this end, it is important that we are able to keep track of progress against the NDP6. This includes identifying unforeseen circumstances that may hamper progress or identifying serious blockages that need to be addressed.  This will require a more strategic and high-level form of monitoring and evaluation.

Therefore, it is crucial that before NDP6 is implemented, the government is able to understand the mechanisms, workability, and effect of such plans on the economy.