12 EDITORIAL Friday, November 3 2017 | NEW ERA Scrapping African visas breeds great anticipation Revered Bissau-Guinean development economist Dr Carlos Lopes was among Namibia for her decision to do away with visa requirements for Africans visiting the country. This is welcome news for travellers, especially leisure tourists who contribute a whopping N.2 billion to Namibia’s GDP annually. The African Union’s Agenda 2063, championed by former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, calls for the scrapping of visa requirements for all African citizens travelling on the continent by 2018. In fact Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, a candidate to succeed her ex-husband Jacob Zuma to become South Africa’s next head of state, had already congratulated Namibia last year when it came to light that the country was planning to scrap African visas. The African passport was already launched last year at the AU summit in Kigali, Rwanda and it is good that Namibia is among nations that have taken the lead in liberalising entry requirements. This is testimony that the country is committed to fully support the vision of an Africa where its citizens can move more freely across national borders, where intra-Africa trade is encouraged and there is greater integration and development of the continent. Similar sentiments were echoed by South Africa, which has the same intention. Currently, on average Africans need visas to travel to 55 percent of other African countries. They can get visas on arrival in only 25 percent of other countries, and only 20 percent of African countries do not need require a visa to cross onto their territories. Essentially, the continent is lacking. Domestically, the move has countless windfalls too. With a population of only 2.4 million having Africans coming into the country in good numbers. While they are here for those 90 or less days, the travellers would be boosting our GDP by spending on accommodation, transport and food, amongst others. Namibia has for years rated badly on the ‘ease of doing business’ index, a situation made worse by the unnecessarily bureaucratic immigration processes. The world over, nations – even developed ones such as Canada and Australia – have relaxed their visa requirements to help boost their domestic economies. Australia specifically said it wanted to attract skills into the country, but without compromising opportunities for its citizens. Its visa recruit the best and “the brightest in the national interest”. Our population is too small to stimulate necessary growth of the economy. Government is already planning to counter the effect of this by making the country the preferred entry point to the 300 million people in SADC region. Scrapping visa requirements would therefore aid these efforts and boost the successful implementation. Along with travel taxes, the costs and difficulties associated with visa applications are probably the main bugbear of the international travel industry. Visa expenses, and the frequent requirement to apply hundreds or even thousands of miles from where the potential traveller lives, act as a severe deterrent to travel to some countries. While the visa-free travel proposal represents both challenges and opportunities for the security and economy of Namibia, previous examples by regional communities and individual countries suggest the As the plan moves from policy to implementation, the African common visa policy has the potential to impart substantial economic incentives through the removal of trade barriers, increased tourism and investment opportunities, and job creation. Analysis: Danny Jordaan’s response to rape allegations insults us all Even in a country as routinely surreal as South Africa, there are days when you confront something so perplexing that your brain cannot initially process it. This was the case on Wednesday, when I encountered the following sentence in Danny Jordaan’s lawyer-issued statement in response to being accused of rape. “Dr Jordaan’s perceived silence in the face of such serious allegations,” it reads, “is because of his empathy with the victims of gender-based violence.” In the words of Emo Philips: some mornings, it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps. Parsing Jordaan’s statement is roughly equivalent to panning for gold in an urban sewer, but shall we take a deep breath and begin? Danny Jordaan is referred to throughout his statement as “Dr Jordaan”. This is a subtle way of reminding members of the proletariat of the status of the man we are dealing with. His rapeaccuser, Jennifer Ferguson, by contrast, is just “Ms Ferguson”. Dr vs Ms: who you gonna believe? The doctor will see you now. Jordaan’s silence on the accusations up to now has only been a “perceived” silence, we are told. Though making absolutely no public statement on the matter for the last two weeks might appear to constitute silence, this is seemingly not the case. Indeed, this part of the statement is undeniably accurate. We now know that Jordaan has in fact been frantically discussing the claims – with lawyers. One is the attorney who released the statement: Mamodupi Mohlala- Mulaudzi. Another is well-known advocate Norman Arendse, who Jennifer Ferguson says has been doing some digging into her history. In an interview on 702 on Tuesday night, Ferguson said that Arendse “SMSed the father of my child and asked if he would be prepared to come forward, off the record, to disclose anything compromising [about] my past”. Arendse denies this, so we should probably give him the confusing case of he-said, shesaid. Innocent until proven guilty, and all that. Back to the statement. Jordaan’s not-really-silent silence, to remind you, stemmed from his empathy with the victims of gender-based violence. In the same way, we must conclude that Jordaan’s silence after being accused of bribery with regard to the 2010 Soccer World Cup bid was motivated by his empathy with the victims of corruption. Dr Jordaan, it would appear, is a man of bottomless empathy. It is admittedly a curious form of empathy which expresses itself entirely in silence. Maybe it makes itself known in other ways: a meaningful hand clasp, say, or a probably have to be alone in a room with Jordaan, and I for one have other plans. In a previous sentence, the statement hammers home the message that Jordaan is not just a not-rapist, but a veritable gender warrior. “In light of the scourge of genderbased violence in this country and Dr Jordaan’s sensitivity towards the issue he had to consider carefully his response, if any, in public to the allegations made by Ms Ferguson,” it states. Got it? It wasn’t to protect himself that Jordaan was staying quiet. (I’d use the phrase “keeping mum”, but such is Jordaan’s gender sensitivity that he might misinterpret it as a slur against mothers.) It was to protect Jordaan was hiding under his desk WhatsApping his lawyers and googling “statute of limitations”. It was for our sake. It was only after “careful consideration” that Jordaan “decided to assert his innocence”. Jordaan generally “supports public debate as an essential tool to highlight the issue of gender-based violence”. Just not in this special case, where “there are two opposing versions”. We still don’t know what Jordaan’s version is, other than that he didn’t rape anybody and sometimes silence only seems like silence. Jordaan’s extraordinary generosity to the public does not end with his previous unwillingness to discuss the topic. It is also the rationale for his dismissal of Jennifer Ferguson’s offer of mediation. Were he to accept this way forward, his statement explains, the public might “perceive that there is a cover-up away from the glare of public scrutiny; and that there is one law for the powerful and another for the masses”. That ship has sailed, Danny. We already know you fall under the special powerful man’s legal system from the fact that you’ve never seen the inside of a courtroom for the World Cup allegations. That aside, Jordaan’s claim that he will not comply with Ferguson’s mediation suggestion in the interests of the public stinks both of condescension and a stunning disregard for the woman he should be answering to: Jennifer Ferguson. There are many possible reasons why Jordaan would not want to agree to a mediation process, all of which are undoubtedly motivated by self-preservation. That he presents his decision as an heroic act of accountability is nauseating. It is only in the very last sentence of his statement that Jordaan approaches authenticity. “Serious allegations of the kind made by Ms Ferguson can only be ventilated in a court of law,” it reads, “where the rights of all parties are protected”. Jordaan could have spared us the rest of the bullshit and led rings true: Jordaan wants his rights protected. By implication, he feels that his rights have been violated up to now. That’s pretty rich coming from a man now accused of rape by three women, but let’s humour him for a second. If Jordaan feels that his rights have been violated by the media dragging his good name through the mud, that is at the victim-blaming: like Norman Arendse, I will deny it later.) All media outlets – including this one – which have reported on Ferguson’s allegations have gone to exhaustive lengths to try to air Jordaan’s side of the story. He ignored them all, perhaps hoping that the story would simply disappear in the manner that similar Jordaan-related scandals have in the past. Instead, the story has gained momentum, and Jordaan’s hand has been forced. I can’t muster much empathy for Jordaan’s violated rights, but perhaps I lack his generosity of spirit. Three days after Ferguson made her public allegations, Jordaan was slated to be one of the guests of honour at a celebratory dinner for South Africa’s women footballers. We don’t know if he attended, but the text version of Women’s Minister Susan Shabangu’s speech sees her open her address by greeting Jordaan. In Shabangu’s speech, she railed against “the patriarchal nature of our society”. Was Jordaan present? ears and humming? There is no clearer illustration of a patriarchal society than a rape-accused man who tells the public he is not just innocent, but a kind of hero for questions. – Daily Maverick
Friday, November 3 2017| NEW ERA 13 thought leaders Unpacking the comprehensive sexuality education debate >> P15 How Namibia can realise its vast development potential Policy trade-offs can translate Namibia’s natural resources into huge success Namibia has great potential for human development. The country has an abundance of diamonds, gold and uranium; it is already upper-middle-income and has some of the most ideal conditions for the production of renewable energy anywhere on the planet. But relative to its peers, Namibia has some of the lowest levels of access to basic services of any upper-middleincome country. Although there is certainly room for improvement, Namibia is also affected by two problems that are a result of its unique history HIV/AIDS epidemic. At the height of the crisis (circa 2004), death rates in Namibia were roughly three times higher than the African average, and more than 35 times higher than the global average. The second factor is more pronounced in the region than elsewhere on the globe. This is a complex phenomenon rooted in the social and political legacies of apartheid and colonialism that have shaped development in the region. 10 most unequal countries In Namibia, it is common for people not give credit where it’s due, evermore so when it comes to our current President, Dr Hage Geingob. People are quick to malign an individual, but slow to acknowledge someone’s achievements or good deeds. I have thus endeavoured to highlight several good deeds that our current President is involved in that many people around the country are not aware of. Contrary to what some malevolent individuals would have you believe, the President is a charitable man; he is a man who believes in helping the needy, a man who believes in taking care of the old, a man with a compassionate heart. Tasked with the most important job in the country, all these great qualities tend to be overshadowed by the current economic and political crisis that the country is facing. During his tenure as the Minister of Trade and Industry, he embarked on an outreach programme, visiting all the regions in the country, accompanied by the staff of in the world lie in southern Africa, with South Africa and Namibia coming in at 1 and 2 respectively. These overarching structural conditions notwithstanding, the question remains: How can the government of Namibia translate strong economic growth and a rich endowment of natural resources into improved human development and wellbeing? is underperforming, and how it could best improve development outcomes, the African Futures Project (AFP) undertook a comprehensive review of where Namibia stands today, and where it is headed based on current trends and global conditions. The AFP used the International Futures (IFs) modelling system, hosted by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, to explore a number of alternative policy interventions aimed at leveraging development outcomes between now and 2040. Namibia has the eighth highest per capita income in Africa (when measured at market exchange rates) along with some of the most favourable rankings across different measures of the ministry, in order to interact with the local community members and to engage with them on different issues that the local residents face each day. This was seen as an opportunity for the local individuals to air their concerns and their opinions on what changes they would like to see happen within their communities. After all the consultations were held, a collective decision was made by the ministry to purchase machinery for the selected individuals to help them sustain themselves. The machinery ranged from wheel alignment machines, farming equipment, salon equipment, baking and catering machines, printing and embroidery, as well as sewing machines – to mention a few. Thus, the Equipment Aid Scheme was born. Today, many programme. A large number of these people have become extremely successful and have gone to create employment within their communities. Since the year 2010, the President has pledged to donate governance. According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Namibia ranks fourth on the continent in terms of overall governance (after Mauritius, Botswana and Cabo Verde). Further, the country World Bank’s Government Effectiveness measure and holds the same rank in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Although Namibia fares well in an African context, when compared to other uppermiddle-income countries the picture is less rosy: Namibia is ranked 18th in government effectiveness; 24th in regulatory quality and eighth in the Corruption Perceptions Index. But those scores have declined relative to the countries in that group over time. from his farm. The cattle will be distributed to several municipal councils in order to meet the needs of the old age people within those municipal areas. The cows are donated every December, so that they can be slaughtered and prepared as part of a Christmas lunch for our elders. It is a stark reality that most of our elders are often left alone during the festive season, thus the idea was conceived to have a Christmas lunch to bring all the elders together during this joyous time. In 1996, Namibia was ranked fifth among uppermiddle-income countries in government effectiveness, 12th in regulatory quality and third on the Corruption Perceptions Index. While governance in Namibia is still average, it has failed to improve as fast as its peers in the past 20 years, so its relative ranking has declined considerably since the mid- 1990s. More importantly, relatively good governance and sustained economic growth (averaging 4.5% per year since 1990) have not translated into a simultaneous expansion of basic services. In 2016, only about 50% of the population had access to electricity, only 37% had access to an improved sanitation facility. Namibians had, on average, one fewer year of education than people in other upper-middle-income countries globally. These are among the least favourable figures for any upper-middle-income country. The problem of poor service delivery is complicated by Namibia’s population growth. Women in Namibia have nearly twice as many children as women in other upper-middleincome countries, which will drive a population increase of nearly 50% by 2040. This growing population will The carcasses are often delivered at the municipal halls and kept there until such time that they are needed to be this initiative are in the towns of Kalkfeld, Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Tsumeb and lastly Grootfontein. The President chose these areas because of the personal bond he has with the area, having been born in the central region of the country. Furthermore, being the busy man that he is, he has gone on to pledge a total amount of N,000 from his salary to purchase much-needed food items for the needy people in the towns of Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Tsumeb, Kalkfeld and Grootfontein. More than 45 individual programme. Every monthend, the money is transferred directly to the Agra account to purchase the household items. The items range from maize meal, tinned fish, washing powder, salt sugar, tea, to many more. The food is delivered every month-end. As if this is not enough, in July 2017, the President pledged an additional N,000 from his salary to fund the place additional pressure on a government already struggling to improve service delivery and the quality of governance in the country. Figure 1 shows the impact of various interventions on three outcomes indicators: infant mortality, extreme poverty and gross domestic product (GDP). The horizontal axis represents the percentage change in Namibia’s GDP, the vertical axis represents the percentage change in extreme poverty and the bubble size represents the percentage reduction in infant mortality. All values represent the percentage change relative to the indicators value on Namibia’s current development trajectory in 2040. In other words, investing in improved sanitation results in a 1 percent boost to Namibia’s GDP in 2040, compared to the IFs baseline forecast for that year. This research suggests that Namibia could see impressive returns to human well-being from improving access to sanitation facilities, increasing average crop yields, increasing the number of students who primary school and improving access to child and maternal health services. However, it also indicates some of the important trade-offs facing policymakers in Namibia, and elsewhere in Africa. For instance, because it is generally same programme since more people were identified as being in dire need of these donations. This brings the total amount to N,000. On top of this amount another N,000 is also pledged from his monthly salary towards the One Economy Foundation to assist in the education initiatives. Many of those working close with the President can testify to his sincerity and philanthropic nature, namely the bodyguards and the drivers, who have a free meal ticket whenever the President has lunch each day, be it at work or at a private restaurant. He also goes as far as giving the police a full cow carcass whenever he decides to spend some time at his farm around the festive season. This is the nature of a humane and caring individual. The President is doing his best in his personal capacity to help the Namibian nation where he can. He is not obliged to do any of the above-mentioned, however, he still does it because of the empathy he has for the Namibian people at large. He is not only talking the people in the most vulnerable communities who are likely to contract a communicable disease or struggle to access enough calories, successful interventions in these spaces tend to increase the number of people living in poverty, other things being equal. Therefore, these interventions need to be combined with other policies to increase access to other basic services, like education and basic infrastructure, in those communities. Good governance and economic growth have not translated into an expansion of basic services As Figure 1 shows, different policy choices have different returns and the particular metrics for success will vary depending on the country and its particular development context. However, using quantitative models like IFs can help policymakers get a better sense of the returns and trade-offs between alternative spending decisions and ideally improve the quality of public policies. This research shows that, in Namibia’s case, investing in improved sanitation facilities, improving the efficiency of agriculture and extending health services are areas the government could focus on to grow the economy and improve human well-being. – ISS Today * Zachary Donnenfeld, Researcher, African Futures and Innovation, ISS Pretoria ‘war on poverty’ but he is walking it. The President also has his own family members to take care of, which he does in his capacity as a family man and not the President. This was written to try and offer a balanced view and change the perception that people have about the President; that of not caring about the Namibian people – because he truly does. In conclusion, let us appreciate what the President is currently doing for the people of Namibia. He is a single human being, tasked with the most important job in the country. Running a country is not easy, and no president has ever said it was a smooth and easy task. Being president of a country comes with a lot challenges and criticism. Amidst all this, our to be compassionate towards the ordinary people around him. Let us recognise and acknowledge his efforts. Let us thank him for trying. Let us endeavour to emulate his philanthropic deeds. * Joseph Kudumo is a personal assistant to President Hage Geingob.