Twenty-one years after independence, Namibia still faces monumental challenges in its quest to become an industrialised country with a high level of human development. Despite the achievement of peace and political stability, Namibia is still characterised by huge levels of socio-economic inequality, widespread poverty, and high levels of unemployment. Addressing these issues more directly and successfully will be key if Namibia wants to achieve the targets it set itself in the national development agenda and especially in the Vision 2030 plan.
At first glance, Namibia can be classified as an economically stable country with modest GDP growth of around 4% a year, a population growth of around 3% per year and a GDP per capita income of US$1800. These socio-economic development indicators place Namibia amongst middle-income countries. Elections are held regularly and are generally described as free and fair. On the other hand, the country’s human development indicators range between poor and average despite the infusion of significant resources into education and health services after Independence. Despite some progress being made in terms of addressing the colonial and apartheid legacies, Namibia is still a highly unequal society, divided along the lines of race, gender and social class (see Jauch et al 2009). Although it may be argued that it will take a long time to redress a century of colonialism, there are certainly alternative policy options that could be explored to reduce inequality and poverty.