Nearly 15 per cent of Namibians were poor in 2018

In 2018, 14,6 per cent of Namibians were poor which is a drop compared to 22.6 per cent in 2009 announced Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

Kuugongelwa made this announcement at the Bank of Namibia's 20th annual symposium under the theme 'escaping the middle - income trap' here on Thursday.

This is when measured at the international poverty lines of 2011 purchasing power parity of U.S.dollars 1.90 per person per day.

However, there is a need to push for increased growth in the economy to allow it to spur further socio-economic benefits to our people [Namibians], Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

She reflected on the growth because 1990 and 2016 by noting that the portions of Namibia living below the national poverty line more than halved from 69,3 in 1993/94 financial year to 28,7 per cent in 2009/10 and further to 17,4 per cent in 2015/16 financial year.

High poverty is prevalent in female, children and elderly headed households as well as lower educated families, larger families including labourers in subsistence farming.

There has been a decline in inequality from 0,70 in 1993 to 0,56 by 2016 as measured by the GINI Coefficient ratio Kuugongelwa-Amadhila added.

The prime minister further highlighted that there are multiple barriers to tackle in order to direct Namibia's progress out of a potential middle-income trap.

Two such barriers, are the need to reduce the income inequality, which is one of the highest globally, reflecting skewness in the distribution of income and wealth, and the high unemployment rate.

Currently, the overall unemployment rate stands at 33,4 per cent whereas 34,3 per cent of women in Namibia are unemployed and 46,1 per cent of the youth.

She added that through enhancing policy uncertainty and internal institutional efficiencies including embracing the digital economy there will be improved productivity levels and national competitiveness.

On Namibia's aspiration to achieving Vision 2030, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said both public and private sectors need to be aggressive to leverage benefits from regional integration and global value chains.

She also reflected and commended the outcomes of the recent Economic Summit which provided policy clarity on issues such as the application of the envisaged National Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill, Namibia Investment Promotion Act and administrative reforms on Visa requirements to facilitate ease of doing business and certain tax policy proposals.

Source: Namibia Press Agency