To truly develop Namibia

31 August 2020 | Opinion

Windhoek • Llewellyn le Hané
We talk a good game as Namibians, but we are prone to not embracing real change. A small shift here, a small innovation there, but large scale comprehensive change always seems out of reach. We use a million excuses to keep the status quo, never truly examining how much we are losing because of this.
Vital development and nation-building becomes elusive for the Land of the Brave.
Our losses manifest themselves in lack of growth of our economy, insufficient stimulation and development of our sectors but even more worryingly, it is stunting the development of our education, our students and putting Namibia’s “bold” Vision 2030 in jeopardy.
As a Namibian and a true son of the soil, this pains me as I believe in this country and the resilience of all its people. It is why I have spent my working life building a company that nurtures development and growth of our employees and ploughs back into the economy. Empowering them as I believe it will uplift the nation and create growth at home.
However, this can only be achieved if we truly look to build and develop the Namibian House, as Dr Geingob and his Cabinet have envisioned. It takes collaboration, partnership and full engagement from all stakeholders to build a house. All pulling in the same direction, to put it within the African context; we are talking about evoking the spirit ‘Harambee’ and leveraging the ‘Ubuntu’ philosophy. Something which makes us stronger as a nation and keeps me believing that we will succeed as long as we don’t lose sight of these concepts.
By working together, by sharing our knowledge and championing each and every Namibian company, we make all of us stronger. Even if that means that sometimes we don’t get the deal or the business we were vying for, as long as a Namibian company gets the business, we still win!
This is something that is hard for a business-owner to say and live up to, but it is essential that we change our mindset. If Namibian companies compete and are awarded contracts or tenders, especially if they are chosen over foreign entities it means that the business stays in Namibia.
The products and services will be sourced in Namibia; sub-contractors will likely be Namibian as well; as are the employees of these companies. Even more relevant and valuable is the fact that the money made on these projects stays in Namibia and benefits the country. It benefits the country through the payment of salaries to the employees, purchasing of products and services and of course through the payment of taxes. Essential to any country, but especially a country that is looking to develop itself.
Namibia knows the vital role technology plays in alleviating some of the teething development challenges weighing down its prospects for growth. A total rethink of the public and private sector can improve productivity, service delivery and unlock huge potential for new businesses
But we cannot achieve this if we work in isolation or begrudge each other success. If we don’t honestly and totally embrace the principles of ubuntu and harambee, we will still be talking about growth, development and innovation in 10 years with nothing to show for it, which is something we can and must avoid at all costs if we are to truly build a viable and competitive nation for our future generations.
We can establish an environment where everything is set up to stimulate an innovative economy from a grassroots level and be the catalyst for an innovative economic sector in Namibia. Building ourselves and each other up as Namibians for Namibia.
*Llewellyn le Hané is the director of Green Enterprise Solutions.

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