|The Courier N° 127 May - June 1991- Dossier 'New' ACP Export Products - Country Reports Cape Verde - Namibia (EC Courier, 1991, 104 p.)|
|Namibia: Meeting challenge of nationhood|
Dr Zedekia Ngavirue is the Director of Namibias new National Planning Commission. As such, he is responsible for coordinating his countrys development strategy, putting into practice the policies which ate required both to increase prosperity and to bridge the gap between rich and poor. When he spoke to the Courier, Dr Ngavirue, who has a private sector background, was at pains to emphasise the modern role of his Commission. Economic planning in Namibia, he stressed, does not mean the old idea of a centrally planned society. The government must obviously plan its own capital expenditure and provide a framework in which the private sector can operate but as the Director pointed out the private sector itself will remain the real engine of growth. He spoke of the Government creating an enabling environment, providing opportunities for businesses to do the things that they can do best.
Dr Ngavirue also explained the structure of the body which he heads. The National Planning Commission will draw its membership from representatives of different economic and other interests within Namibia and it will be serviced by a secretariat consisting of three divisions. One of these will deal with the planning of economic development while another will manage the funding from both internal and external sources. The third division will be responsible for information including: the gathering of statistical economic information which is currently lacking and the conduct of censuses. The idea is for this unit to develop into a fully-fledged central statistical office.
The structure chosen reflects the Governments bottom-up philosophy in the field of development. As the Director pointed out, it should not simply be a matter of having some expert or technocrat saying how things should be. Feedback from the people was important, he argued, since this would lead to formulation of policies which reflected the views of different parts of Namibian society.
The Director also spoke about what he saw as the priority areas for development in Namibia. Noting that it was not a question of all-round underdevelopment - the country in fact has a well developed infrastructure - he said that the focus should be on adjusting the economic imbalances which had resuited from the previous system. This is very important for us, because it is at the very core of our stability. He cited the areas of education and health, where imbalances needed to be tackled.
Dr Zedekia saw an important role for the European Community, in participating in Namibias development, through the Lomonvention. He was particularly complimentary about the concrete help which had already been provided by the Community and looked forward to a continuing useful partnership. He was anxious, however, to stress the trade component of the Lomrrangement. There was always a tendency, he noted, to concentrate on the donor/recipient relationship. Echoing other prominent Namibians on the same subject, Dr Ngavirue insisted that Namibia only wanted assistance for a transitional period. The Government clearly favours self-reliance and looks forward to the day when commerce is the principal feature of its relationship with the EC.