G-77 has become a strong voice for the poor: Geingob

WINDHOEK: Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob says the Group of 77 (G-77) has become a strong voice for the poor and vulnerable, offering hope for poverty alleviation by promoting South-South cooperation as a driver for economic growth and development.

The Namibian premier was speaking on Sunday during the 50th anniversary celebration of the G-77 that took place in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Geingob said the developing world does not have individual superpowers per se, but through the collective voices and diversity, they can act as a counter-balance to global dominance and ensure that those who lack economic muscle are not left out.

The Group of 77 was established on 15 June 1964 by 77 developing countries, signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries” issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.

“We have a lot to celebrate on this our 50th Anniversary,” Geingob said.

He said the rapid rate of globalisation in the 21st century is both exciting and frightening at the same time.

Countries in the south are faced with an ever-increasing number of opportunities as well as challenges. “While some countries might be experiencing an accelerated rate of growth, we are faced with an ever-increasing problem of income and wealth disparity which is a threat to local, regional and global peace and security,” said Geingob.

He explained that the reality is that some developing countries will and have advanced economically, adding that their economic advancement should augment the voice and influence of developing countries globally, especially in multilateral negotiations.

Thus, he said, the theme chosen for the meeting namely ‘For a new world order for living well” provides them with an opportunity to constructively engage and exchange views as they tackle developmental challenges that impede progress.

“We should be cognisant of the fact that as 2015 approaches, our work ahead as developing nations is to take stock of the extent to which the Millennium Development Goals have been achieved, the obstacles and challenges faced and how efforts can be consolidated to address the gaps that still exist,” he said.

Geingob noted that people’s well-being should take centre stage.

“We should ensure that no one feels left out. Inclusivity is key in the elaboration of the 2015 Development Agenda,” he stated.