Why Namibia’s Future Looks Bright

This post is part of Blogging Abroad’s 2017 New Years Blog Challenge, week four: Change and Hope.

Namibia is only a year older than I am, yet the country has accomplished unbelievable progress in the almost 27 years since its independence. One of the best examples is language. Namibia changed their official language to English during independence because they wanted to be able to compete on an international level. Now, in 2017, I haven’t met a person who doesn’t at least have a basic understanding of English. In fact, my third grade neighbor is completely fluent and is an excellent reader. With an upward trajectory like this, I can only see bright things in Namibia’s future. While there is still a ways to go, here are some of the most notable accomplishments to date.

1990


Namibia gains independence from South Africa.

1994

South African enclave of Walvis Bay turned over to Namibia

1997

Sister Namibia, a feminist, nonpartisan NGO magazine, is awarded the Felipa de Souza Award from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission for its work in standing up to government officials in defense of sexual minority rights.

1999


The Namibian rugby team competes in its first World Cup (would go on to compete in four more).

2002

Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab declares land reform as a top priority.

2004

Labour act passed to protect people from job discrimination stemming from pregnancy and HIV/AIDS status.

2006


National anti-polio vaccination campaign is launched.

2007

Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel reaches 94.6%.

2009

The proportion of individuals classified as poor reduces by 40.6% from 1993. The proportion of individuals classified as severely poor reduces by 43.6%.

2010


Namibia reaches position 21 in the Press Freedom Index of Reporters without Borders, being on par with Canada. Proportion of households with access to safe drinking water reaches 99% for urban households and 90% for rural households. Percentage of tuberculosis cases treated sucessfully reaches 85%.

2011

Namibia endorses the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Intensifying our Efforts to Eliminate HIV and AIDS, at the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS.

2012


Net enrollment ratio in primary education reaches 99.6%. Incidence of Malaria reduces to just 1.4 in 1000 people.

2013

Bloomberg names Namibia the top emerging market economy in Africa and the 13th best in the world. Cell phone subscribers reaches 115% of the population. Communal nature conservancies reach 19.4% of all land in Namibia.

2017


Lonely Planet lists Namibia as 2nd best tourist destination in the world in terms of value.

Sources:
Lonely Planet
Namibia 2013 Millennium Development Goals Interim Progress Report No. 4
Sister Namibia Wikipedia Page
Namibia Wikipedia Page

3 Comments
  1. What kinds of issues (social, medical, economic political) are facing Namibians? What industries are blooming there that Bloomberg is so impressed? And how can you get me time off so I can visit you two?

    • There are 3 major issues that I see the impacts of on a daily basis: water, education, and unemployment. Luckily, there is a low level of corruption here (compared with other African countries) and Namibia’s mining and tourism industries are growing each year. Karibib is a mining town. Most of the area residents work at the gold mine just outside of town but there is also smaller scale granite and marble mining as well as very small scale gemstone mining (as in individuals walk out into the mountains with their equipment). Tourism is also picking up for the entire country. There are numerous national parks and protected areas that are relatively well managed in order to draw visitors to see the unique geology and wildlife that Namibia is rich in. With regards to problems though, water is very scarce and they don’t have a good solution yet to fix it. Their best bet is probably desalinization, but it would be extremely costly. Therefore, farmers are losing their livestock at alarming rates and running water (although clean to drink) is unreliable in towns and villages. Some towns only have their taps turn on for 2 hours a day. The second issue is education. Namibia is behind in education because years of apartheid created an intentional divide of blacks versus whites. The black majority was purposely under-educated so that they would only be qualified for manual labor type jobs. This has left a large gap in critical thinking in the country. Many current teachers (which there are an extreme shortage of) were educated under the old system and lack the skills to teach their subjects up to new educational standards. There is a big push for teacher training, but change takes time. The third problem is unemployment. This problem ties in to both water and education. As I mentioned earlier, people who used to rely on farming can no longer do that, yet they do not have the skills to work in some of the more modern fields. Also, since education is behind, many people just do not have the qualifications required for a modernizing workforce. The mines hire many international employees because they cannot find qualified Namibians for some of the complex jobs. I could go on and on but the best thing would be for you to stop being so doctorly so that you can come see yourself 🙂

  2. Pingback: New Years 2017 Blog Challenge Round Up #4: HOPE - Blogging Abroad

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