Industrialisation by 2030 not achievable

Namibia will not, in my patriotic opinion, achieve its desired Vision 2030 goal of being an industrialised nation as was sincerely envisioned by the post-independence political leadership due to a number of fundamental regressive socio-economic development deficiencies.

This noble long term vision was built on the strong notion of a united society striving together to uplift itself from the grave position of mass destitution to one of mass prosperity with the significant support of its natural resources through the intended large scale educated human capital base.

With that said, the earlier the nation accepts that this vision will not be achieved the better for it to rather set itself realistic and achievable goals which are more in tune with its true capabilities and resources financial and otherwise.

I must acknowledge at this stage that there are certain significant milestones that are achieved in certain key areas such as in health provision, social protection, safety and security. The main goal of the nation's Vision 2030 is for Namibia to become an industrialised nation, by international standards.

However, with slightly less than 13 years to go before the year 2030, the country needs an honest reassessment of itself and set itself realistic targets that are within its realms. Industrialisation is too big a dream. It simply cannot be attained in the next 13 years as painful a reality as it is.

I have identified four fundamental areas which, in my opinion, are stumbling blocks of attaining Vision 2030.

Vision 2030 has no capable and fearless leader: Unlike the liberation struggle which was led by the visionary and fearless Founding Father, Dr Sam Nujoma to its eventual conclusion, Vision 2030 is leaderless or faceless. The grand vision is on auto pilot with no one in the cock pit with most of the passenger on board careless about this fact. This significant national vision, also as important as the first phase of the struggle for independence is sadly left to chance.

Vision 2030 has no follower: Linked significantly to the above point, patriotic followers have lost a great deal of interest to follow a leaderless or faceless long term vision and have opted to focus more on their individual survivals leading to quick short term fix financial solutions with the majority being exposed to fend for themselves. This sad situation has consequently led to perpetual poverty of Namibians forcing many of them to live below an acceptable living standard and all its associated elements.

Lack of an industrialisation culture and its true understanding: The deficiency of the above two important points has created a lost opportunity to culturally empower Namibians to be industrialist in various key sectors which should have by the year 2030 equipped them to achieve and sustain Namibia as an industrialised nation. The term industrialisation as per the vision is not clearly defined nor realistically benched marked against any key industrialised nations upon which the country should have aligned itself to become an industrialised society. For instance, which industrialised nation's standard did Namibia use as a reference point as each industrialised nation has a certain work culture and ethic that contributed to their industrialisation status?

Last but not least, the lack of incentive or directive to entice the established private sector to play its part for the nation to achieve its Vision 2030 goals. The private sector is still milking Namibians leaving the bulk of the socio-economic development aspect of the country in the hands of the government. No private sector in large numbers has ever built a significant numbers of schools, clinics, hospital, roads, and sport stadiums since the dawn of independence, which raises a number of questions. They too have no respect, nor fear of the government, hence the status quo of ignorance from their side. They are content to just pay a taxi and focusing on the capitalist instinct of maximising profits for themselves and their external shareholders.

In the context of the above fundamental deficiencies, going forward Namibia needs to seriously ask itself what it really wants as a nation way before the year 2030, otherwise it is really daydreaming at the expense of the masses.

* Pendapala Hangala is a Namibian socio-economist.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia