Finweek English Edition - - Economic trends & analysis - HOWARD PREECE

THE BEST NEWS about Namibia is that we hear so lit­tle about our neigh­bour­ing coun­try. That means that there are no wars – for­eign or civil – and that the both the eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions are free of ma­jor crises.

Those is­sues, sadly, are what mostly at­tract the world’s me­dia in Africa.

Sure, Namibia is cer­tainly not with­out some ex­tremely se­ri­ous prob­lems.

Vi­tally, HIV/Aids af­fects about 25% of its pop­u­la­tion and un­em­ploy­ment is run­ning at around 35%.

But there are also strong pluses. Real eco­nomic progress con­tin­ues to be steadily seen. Also, for all the po­lit­i­cal im­per­fec­tions – among them, a dan­ger­ously high level of cor­rup­tion, ac­cord­ing to Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional – there’s a ba­sic work­ing democ­racy.

The quasi-in­de­pen­dent Namib­ian news­pa­per re­ported last month: “The out­look for the econ­omy in 2007 and 2008 looks pos­i­tive, de­spite the ex­pected global slow­down. Martin Mwinga, port­fo­lio man­ager for RMB As­set Man­age­ment, Namibia, says in­fla­tion will re­main favourable.

“He fore­casts eco­nomic growth in GDP of about 4% in 2007, slightly up on 2006. That’s ex­pected to rise to 4,5% in 2008. Mwinga pre­dicts in­fla­tion this year at an av­er­age 6,5%, eas­ing to 5,8% next year.”

The eco­nomics de­part­ment of Stan­dard Bank com­ments: “It’s ev­i­dent that sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made to im­prove prospects for the coun­try’s peo­ple.”

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