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Speaker concerned about inequalities, 06 March 2018

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi (right) with the newly accredited US Ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Lisa Johnson

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi has appealed to the United States to look for ways of supporting Namibia’s development needs even though the country has been classified as an upper middle income country. According to the World Bank, Namibia falls under that classification as a result of its high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated at around US$5700. The upper income designation means a reduction in aid from development partners.

According to Hon. Katjavivi, the glowing GDP figure hides the realities of the standard of living for the majority of people in Namibia. Many live in rural areas under abject poverty and the higher GDP does not take into account the distribution of wealth in the country which is hugely unequal largely due to its historical past.

Katjavivi made the appeal when he met the newly accredited US ambassador to Namibia, H.E. Lisa Johnson today (06/03/18).

 

The Speaker noted that the widened gap between the few rich and the majority poor is a growing concern not only for him but his fellow lawmakers and that it could be bridged by education. “This issue is a very big concern to me and my fellow MPs. Education is very critical in this as we would be able to empower our people. It should start at the foundation level of early child development and an Act of Parliament was already passed for this purpose. The US has also been very instrumental in supporting our university since its inception”, said Katjavivi.

Johnson shared similar sentiments on the classification, adding that other avenues could be adopted to continue the support for development. “It’s a challenge for development partners because it puts restrictions on what we can do. We have supported other programmes that don’t necessary fit in the upper income designation such as the anti-poaching. We could do similar programmes such as offering technical assistance within institutions. We also have over 100 volunteers under the Peace Corps programme”, said Johnson.

H.E. Ambassador Johnson who was recently appointed as US Ambassador to Namibia was paying a courtesy call on the Speaker to find common ground on how the two institutions could work together.

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