A brighter 2020 should prevail

AS the close of an eventful 2019 beckons, it is imperative that we look ahead and invest collective optimism in what 2020 holds for our beloved land, particularly on the economic and political front where a lot rests on our ability to reform and turn around the status quo.

Indeed we have endured a challenging economic year and our politics, as evidenced by the recent Presidential and National Assembly elections, has gotten more polarised and uncharacteristically toxic. The year before us, provides similar odds where local authority elections are likely to further polarise our people and the economy is also set to remain as resilient as is has been in the last consecutive quarters.

However, as a publication, our view is that if we can join hands and work together in unity of purpose, 2020 can prove brighter and more progressive for each and every one of us.

As stated in the Government’s medium-term policy stance, achieving economic growth, which is the necessary condition for the reduction of public debt, revenue generation, the creation of jobs and the reduction of poverty and inequality is by far the most important objective over the short and the long term. This objective is not possible with a cocktail of pessimistic approaches but needs everyone to play their role in the nation building agenda.

We fully acknowledge that economic growth is slowing at a time when public debt remains high and demographic changes and technological advances are reshaping the global economy. As a result, opportunities for a good education, employment and healthcare depend largely on the tax and spending choices our government makes as it responds to these evolving challenges.

The need for greater economic integration is ever urgent. In addition, by carefully calibrating growth-enhancing policies, we need to work together to promote peace and stability while addressing trade obstacles, climate change, corruption, cybersecurity and the opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

There is little doubt our policy responses ought to consider the current headwinds pulsing through the global economy. Given weak global growth prospects and significant downside risks, our economic policies will need to strike a balance between supporting growth and creating the fiscal space to respond to emergent economic challenges. This means executing on fiscal consolidation now but also providing a growth stimulus.

The policy package we prescribe should balance growth, equity and sustainability concerns, including protecting society’s most vulnerable, particularly youth and women, who tend to be left behind during economic transformations.

Tackling corruption decisively would also help raise additional resources and redirect them to growth-friendly areas, while restoring the integrity of institutions. This would in turn spread economic benefits more widely within and across our country.

This is a time to act boldly and swiftly to ensure we don’t confine our youth to the margins of national economic activity.

With this our final edition of the year, we remain optimistic that growth prospects will gain traction as the implementation of the adopted measures is scaled-up. We join in governments call for the collective support of all Namibians and call on the private sector and investor community to remain positive and supportive as the economy rebounds to positive growth in the year 2020.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!