Probing the implementation of Vision 2030
By Lt Gen (rtd) Denga Ndaitwah
VISION 2030 is Namibian’s national grand strategy. Grand strategy is where human and financial resources are maximally mobilised for the accomplishment of multiple strategies, goals and objectives. Maximally mobilising resources is the most difficult, as at the initial stage the leadership is not in a position to quantify what is needed against the available resources.
Strategy has three stages: formulation, implementation and evaluation. Formulation is an academic exercise. Implementation is complex as it is a stage where realism must apply. Evaluation is another stage that demands attention of those who are well-versed with the subject at hand.
Grand strategy demands vision, futuristic minds and persuasion. It equally demands critical and unbiased minds of those who are able to predict what the future has in store. This article is a result after I perused through Vision 2030, particularly the foreword by His Excellency Sam Nujoma, the then president of the Republic of Namibia.
Most of what I shall write here are extractions of what the then president wrote. I would, therefore, plead with a reader to carefully understand the message by the president against what we have achieved on the ground. I shall also try to discuss what I consider as inconclusive findings.
In his opening, there is a question “Why Vision 2030?” That is a rudimentary question that can serve as a springboard in strategy formulation. The answer as outlined in his foreword is, “The goal of our Vision is to improve the quality of life of our people… in order to get there we need a framework that defines clearly where we are today… where we want to be by 2030 and how to get there.”
Furthermore, for the realisation of Vision 2030, there is need to formulate five-year development plans. These development plans will be the enabling instruments for the execution of the Vision. From a strategic viewpoint, the official launch of Vision was supposed to come before any development plan. On the contrary, the National Development Plan 1 and 2 (NDP1 & NDP2) were implemented before Vision 2030 was launched in 2004.
The official launch of the Vision after the two National Development Plans were already operational brought the question of a chicken and egg, as the cart was put before the horse. Launching NDPs before Vision 2030 can be interpreted as if a child was born before the mother.
Four NDPs have been concluded without much seen progress on the ground. The fifth NDP will soon be launched. That in my view, created a policy dilemma on how to realistically measure the value of formulation and implementation of grand strategy.
The president further outlined that “Namibia will be transformed into a knowledge-based society, changes in production and information technology will revolutionise all aspects of manufacturing process.” That is a projection of national prosperity.
The president further envisioned that “Vision 2030 is expected to reduce inequalities and move the nation significantly up the scale of human development, to be ranked high among the developed countries in the world.”
Only those who are visionary and futuristic can think beyond the line of imagination. In his foreword, he recognises possible challenges. Among the major challenges require of “all of us (government, private sector, civil society, as well as individuals) to make determined efforts to concentrate on resolving, not just addressing very important national problems.”
As part of addressing such challenges “the business community will be challenged to make increasing contributions to education and training sector… make realistic inputs into the development plan formulation… make contribution to implementation plan… enhance international trade… create employment opportunities for the growing labour force.”
It also came clearly that “the immediate challenge we face as a nation, now that we have a Vision document that defines our country’s future development possibilities is to ensure that the Vision is translated into reality… develop implementation strategies, mobilising both human and financial resources and propel this nation to be an industrialised nation by the fall of 30 years.”
I shall now briefly discuss my own findings. This foreword is the direction pointer of a strategic intent by the then Head of State. I want to make it clear from the onset that I am not qualified to provide conclusive answers as there may be more questions than answers.
As I earlier indicated, it is always difficult to quantify the strategic intent as at the initial stage the strategic intent will always be vague. Quantifying the strategic intent against the possible available resources may therefore be a nightmare. It must also be noted that quantification of the strategic intent is not within the ambit of the highest authorities. It is rather squarely in the hands of experts, who are qualified to do so.
Accordingly, the goal of Vision 2030 as outlined in the foreword is to improve the quality of life of our people. Has the quality of life of our people improved during the four NDPs as outlined? What percentage of quality of life have we achieved and would it be practically possible to achieve part of the goals within the scope of the remaining NDPs?
Namibia is expected to be transformed into a knowledge-based society, ensure production and information technology so as to revolutionise all aspects of manufacturing process. The concepts of a knowledge-based society, information technology and revolutionising manufacturing are crucial for every country, more so because of globalisation. Are we coming closer to achieving those goals and at what percentage are we now?
Synergy is as way of pulling resources together to achieve set strategic goals. As outlined in the foreword, has the government challenged the business community to make contributions towards education and training and to create employment opportunities for the growing labour force? Are there tangible results? Is there a synergy between government, private sector and civil society?
Translating the Vision into reality, developing implementation strategies, mobilising both human and financial resources were identified as challenges. It is also a well-known factor that strategies do not fail at the formulation stage, as failures always manifest in the implementation phase.
In a nutshell, I am not in the inner circle of Vision activities. Yet I can see some mismatches between the Vision, and our human and financial resources. It is however, hoped that those who were involved in formulation of the grand strategy and those at the steering wheel for implementation are in a better position to determine whether there is a link between the Vision, and the necessary human and financial resources to achieve that great dream set out by the president at the time.
The ultimate national goal is to dock the ship at the destined harbour. And that harbour comes into view only after we have fully achieved the strategic goals set out in Vision 2030.
* Lt Gen (Rtd) Denga Ndaitwah is a former Chief of the Defence Force, a holder of Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies, HOD and senior lecturer at IUM. Views expressed here are that of an author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org