Reflections on Geingob’s Economic Legacy

Josef Sheehama

Namibia has lost one of its most influential leaders.

It is fair that we revisit president Hage Geingob’s role in the economic governance of Namibia, particularly some of the economic policies and programmes that laid the foundation for the country’s economic growth.

Although some critics and economic analysts have over the years downplayed the impact of those policies on the overall development of the country, it is impossible to ignore their far-reaching impact on ordinary Namibians.

This included economic recovery programmes, poverty reduction strategies and institutional structures for reducing poverty, poverty monitoring and indicators.

Geingob leveraged on his personal qualities and principles of integrity, accountability and service to champion the implementation of economic reforms.

His economic strategy has been poverty reduction as an overarching objective of ensuring macroeconomic stability, which is crucial for ensuring sustainable economic growth.

Under the leadership of Geingob, Namibia unveiled an economic recovery programme aimed at reversing a protracted period of serious economic decline characterised by Covid-19, high inflation rates, high unemployment and geopolitics.

Upon the commencement of his Presidency, the president presented a framework aimed at guiding his leadership towards prosperity.

This development map is called the Harambee Prosperity Plans (I and II).

These plans have been adopted to accelerate the implementation and impact of the aforementioned plans and strategies.

It was Geingob who appointed an 11-member business rescue task force to review business and insolvency legislation with the aim of rescuing businesses in financial distress.

Furthermore, Namibia is fast becoming a front runner in the green hydrogen race, which was under Geingob’s leadership.

He tackled the looming crisis of climate change and degradation of our environment.

Green hydrogen could play a significant role in these efforts, replacing carbon-intensive fuels across the economy and leading to substantial emission reductions.

Moreover, Geingob was a front runner in addressing macroeconomic stability, economic transformation, SME development and economic competitiveness.

Additionally, under his leadership we have witnessed oil discoveries in Namibia, which will bring in an equivalent of N$53 billion in revenue for the state, a prominent global consultancy group has estimated.

This discovery would significantly improve energy security in a country that relies heavily on petroleum imports.

Notably, the creation of a domestic petroleum market would create thousands of jobs for the local population.

Furthermore, we have witnessed the Bank of Namibia and the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises relaunch the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Economic Recovery Loan Scheme on 2 February 2023, with a share capital of N$500 million.

The relaunched loan scheme was designed to provide small and medium enterprises access to government-guaranteed loans to help their businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19.

In terms of full-time employment, this sector currently employs about 60 000 people.

These consensus-building efforts have led to the economic transformation that rolled out pragmatic policy measures for accelerated economic growth within the framework of Namibia’s Vision 2030.

Geingob has declared that the era of exporting raw materials from Namibia is over.

This move aimed to boost the value of exports. It is an excellent opportunity for the domestic market to grow and would address unemployment in the country.

Above all, Namibia has had a fair increase in its gross domestic product, which shows the country is able to make a dent in the economic difficulties it faces.

In conclusion, as I reflected on Geingob’s economic legacy, I am reminded of the immense responsibility we have to honour his vision and carry his work forward, particularly with regards to the green hydrogen project.

Together we can build a Namibia that honours Geingob’s economic legacy and paves the way for a brighter and more inclusive future.

‘No Namibian should feel left out.’

May you rest in peace, Hage Geingob, president of the Republic of Namibia.

You will always be remembered.

Your legacy will forever be etched in our minds and hearts.

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