To help people overcome almost a century of hatred and mistrust, the Government of the Republic of Namibia adopted the policy of National Reconciliation shortly after independence. National reconciliation was considered the only realistic policy for cultivating a national ethos in a society that was for over a century racially and ethnically stratified.
The policy of Affirmative Action that was also adopted shortly after independence has largely removed the inherited inequity in access to opportunities in a once divided society.
Since the country gained independence in 1990, great strides have been made in promoting unity, nation-building and socio-economic development. Apartheid laws have been repealed and provision has been made for the protection and upholding of fundamental human rights in the Namibian society. Access to health services and education has improved and Namibians play an increasing role in the country's fisheries and mining sectors through the economic empowerment of the Namibian people by granting them fishing quotas and mining concessions.
The challenge that remains for the nation is to join hands and march forward in unity. Although there will be difficulties along the way, Namibians will persevere and with hard work and as a united nation we shall conquer every challenge and overcome every obstacle.
Namibia’s Vision 2030 provides the long-term development framework for the country to be a prosperous and industrialised nation, developed by her human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability. Vision 2030 visualises that Five-Year National Development Plans would be the main vehicles for achieving its objectives and realizing the long-term Vision. Accordingly, successive National Development Plans (NDP) will contain the goals and intermediate targets (milestones) that will eventually lead the nation to the realization of the Vision.
NDP3, spanning the five-year period 2007/08 to 2011/12, was launched in November 2008 and implementation has taken effect. The theme for NDP3 is “Accelerating Economic Growth and Deepening Rural Development”, and the goals of NDP3 have been derived from the Vision 2030 document, the 2004 SWAPO Party Manifesto, the directions from a November 2005 Cabinet Retreat, the Millennium Development Goals, and the lessons learned from implementing the NDP2.
In its quest to uplift the standard of living and prosperity of all its peoples, the government adopted the strategy of economic diplomacy. The objectives of economic diplomacy are explicitly outlined in the White Paper on Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Management, adopted by Parliament in 2004.
Economic relations are now, clearly, a priority in Namibia’s interaction with the international community. With an economy that is largely based on the extraction and export of primary commodities and a society many of whose people live below the poverty line, Namibia is a country that is very anxious to achieve rapid economic growth and, consequently, a significant reduction in the absolute number of the absolute poor. And to achieve this national aspiration, it is estimated that the economy must grow by at least 7% GDP annually.
But over the last few years, the economy’s average annual growth rate has been 4% GDP. One of the reasons why the economy is growing at such a slow pace is that the country’s domestic productive base is quite narrow. This is why government has opted to pursue an outward-looking strategy for economic growth and development. Export-push is a central element of that strategy of economic development. Exports, and especially manufactured, non-traditional products, are key to the expansion of the country’s economy. Hence, the need to place economic diplomacy as the cornerstone and main pre-occupation of our foreign policy operations.
This Plan is called the HARAMBEE PROSPERITY PLAN [HPP]. Talk of Prosperity may sound overly ambitious to some. However, when we speak of prosperity, we do not intend to create opulence and excess. We want to ensure that every Namibian has access to the basic necessities for survival. We aim to meet those most basic needs and by so doing, enable every Namibian to realize their full potential and prosper according to their inherent abilities. We strive towards building a Namibia where there are no structural poverty traps. A prosperous Namibia should be inhabited by people with decent shelter, access to basic amenities such as safe potable water, access to quality schooling and adequate health services.