The Gini coefficient was down to 0,597 according to the 2009/10 Household Survey [of the National Planning Commission], reflecting successes in reducing very severe poverty. According to the survey, the proportion of households classified as poor and severely poor was 19,5 percent and 9,6 percent respectively, down from 27,6 percent and 13,8 percent since the first survey in 1994 – a bigger achievement when you think of how much the population has grown.
The bad news is that Namibia is still among the most unequal in the world – only Haiti still scores a Gini coefficient of 0,595 and South Africa, measured at 0,631 in 2009 by the World Bank, is more recently rated down to 0,578 (Southern African countries seem to score highly).
The worst news is that when UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] has adopted a new way to calculate inequality, the Atkinson approach, Namibia suffers the world’s biggest adjustment due to inequality worldwide. In their 2011 Human Development Index table on inequality Namibia’s relatively good 0,625 score is slashed to 0,353 and the percentage adjustment is bigger than in all other countries, including nadirs of underdevelopment: Haiti, Chad and Guinea-Bissau.
The challenge is on for sustainable ways to cut inequality. The 80-90 million Ethiopians add more than two million babies every year but their country, despite dire poverty, is still among the world’s top performers in development advances, including in education, health and infrastructure. Namibia has two million people and great resources. So cutting inequality should not be out of reach for Namibians, for instance through great education, entrepreneurship and health.
*Find it at: hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Table3.pdf (accessed 8 Mar 2013)