2022 – The Year of Reimaging

Otis Daniels_Finck

“It is time to start with a clean slate and enter the New Year with a positive outlook. In 2022 – The Year of Reimaging, let us endeavour to think anew as a nation and move forward with renewed enthusiasm and vision,” President Hage Geingob urged in his 2022 New Year’s Day message to Namibians.

He said there is much hope in the New Year, in which Namibian’s endeavour to rebuild their lives, homes, communities and the nation.

“We have overcome the Year of Resilience, we have stayed the course, held hands and emerged stronger. A new and different mental picture should guide the actions and processes we will undertake in the Year of Reimaging.”

The impact of Covid

The president said that 2021 will go down as a year of many trials and tribulations, and highlighted that the havoc inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic has been unlike anything experienced since independence in 1990.

“Covid-19 is indiscriminate; it knows no borders, no nationality, no race, no tribe, no gender, no age and no social class. It has reached out and affected all of humanity. However, in the middle of untold despair, the war against this virus has also united people across the globe.”

Geingob said that although 2021 is a year many will not remember with fondness, he urged Namibians to look at the lessons learned over these past twelve months.

“The advent of the Covid-19 has changed our lives in unexpected ways. As a government, we will ensure that we are more resilient and better prepared to deal with pandemics. Workplace health and safety protocols need to be revisited to ensure that we are better prepared to provide medical care to our workers. In the midst of great loss, we saw faith; in the midst of untold suffering, we saw courage; in the midst of endless despair, we saw love. In times of death and bereavement, we saw a deep sense of connection and empathy,” he said.

Gratitude

The president said that whereas many lives were lost due to Covid-19, many more lives were saved as a result of the hard work, commitment and sacrifice of brave Namibians.

“I commend our frontline workers, who put themselves in harm’s way in order to ensure that lives are saved. I commend the first responders and members of the uniformed services for their invaluable contributions,” said Geingob, also commending the ministers, and in particular health minister Kalumbi Shangula and his staff for “having ensured that Namibia maintained a heightened state of readiness and preparedness to deal with the pandemic”.

According to Geinfgob, it is due to the collective high level of vigilance that Namibia managed to stave off the initial stages, and worst effects of the pandemic.

The president also thanked the private sector, churches, development partners and ordinary Namibians who have reached out in whatever way they could to assist the government against Covid-19.

He also commended the police and army, and other agencies of the security cluster, for maintaining safety and order in Namibia during the pandemic.

“We should all ensure that we make our communities bastions of peace, safety and social harmony. Let us root out crime and violence, especially that which is aimed at our women and children. Let us also ensure that our roads and highways are safe by adhering to the rules and regulations. Let us avoid
the unnecessary devastation and carnage that oftentimes characterizes festive season travel,” Geingob said, urging Namibians to continue adhering to the Covid-19 guidelines.

“Let us make a collective commitment to ensure that we do not have a repeat of the outbreaks we experienced in 2021,” he said.

Vaccinate

Giengob again urged Namibians to get vaccinated and refrain from spreading falsehoods about vaccines, adding that the pandemic has impacted the economy of the country adversely, with limited mobility leading to supply chain disruptions and low economic growth.

“The situation is exacerbated by vaccine hesitancy and the subsequent slow pace of vaccinations in Namibia which has adverse effects on our economy. As a nation, we cannot continue to lag behind others in terms of vaccination rates. Namibia is not an island. We belong to a global village and for us to survive, we must do business with the rest of the world. Therefore, if we fail to
to reach acceptable levels of vaccination and achieve herd immunity, we are effectively cutting ourselves off from the world and severely limiting our economy’s ability to generate the prosperity we so desperately long for,” according to him.

Economic prospects

Furthermore, the president said that if positive sentiment remains, and any new Covid-19 variants are avoided, improved economic growth in 2022 can be expected.

“As a nation, we cannot sit back and wait for commodity prices to dictate the economic outcomes we yearn for. For that reason, we have to think out of the box and pursue innovative ideas and ventures that can generate economic growth,” he said, highlighting green hydrogen production.

According to Geingob, during his participation at the 76th United Nations General Assembly in September in the US, and the COP 26 in Scotland, significant progress was made in marketing Namibia’s potential for green hydrogen production.

“This new industry will strengthen our renewable energy footprint, which will result in competitive electricity tariffs. In 2022, we shall secure the first N$100 million in concession fees from the preferred bidder, bringing immediate relief to the fiscus and translating the vision of a synthetic fuels industry into immediate foreign direct investment flows,” he explained. “We shall deliver Namibia’s green hydrogen strategy, outlining a clear pathway to unlocking even greater investments and to establish Namibia as a regional and global decarbonization champion.”

The president also emphasised that in 2022, given the extent of economic disruption experienced due to Covid-19, economic recovery and growth,
employment creation, provision of basics such as housing and sanitation will continue to be key priorities.

“Although government spending is currently limited, as a country we remain endowed with a stable governance architecture, a strong macroeconomic framework and excellent infrastructure, which are all built on democratic institutions and the rule of law. Additionally, Namibia has many unique and untapped economic opportunities which have the potential to attract meaningful investments and change the face of our economy,” he said.

The president said that to turn opportunities into tangible outcomes, and to catalyse a rapid and sustainable growth trajectory, attention must be refocused to maximize Namibia’s investment potential.

“In this regard, there is a resolute commitment from the government to provide the requisite enabling environment for the private sector to unlock opportunities,” he said, adding that key economic interventions were identified through the Harambee Prosperity Plan II with the main objective of “jumpstarting” Namibia’s economic recovery and growth and creating productive employment for Namibians, especially the youth.

Geingob said Namibia will need to diversify its portfolio of economic activities in strategic sectors, which can support access to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the global market.

“Diversification of economic products, including finished products, and unique services will enable us to be cushioned against external risks and shocks. To achieve this, we need to retool and reskill our workforce. If there is one thing this past year has taught us, it is that one must adapt, evolve or die. Therefore, to prepare ourselves to benefit from AfCFTA and continental integration, we are taking initial steps aimed at enhancing regional integration,” said Geingob.

Internationally

Geingob hopes 2022 will be a year characterized by peace, unity, goodwill and rapprochement on the international front.

“We hope to see a new dawn signifying improved relations between the US and Cuba. We call on inhumane sanctions to be lifted against the people of Cuba. The pursuit of the two-state solution is the only pathway to peace between Israel and Palestine. Finally, we also call upon our Moroccan brothers to allow the people of Western Sahara to have the opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination in accordance with United Security Council resolutions,” Geingob encouraged.