Comprehensive study outlines post-independence national development strategies for Namibia
A comprehensive study on post-independencenational development strategies for Namibia was presented to the International Conference for the Immediate Independence of Namibia, held from 7 to 11 July in Vienna.
The study--entitled "Namibia: Perspectivesfor National Reconstruction and Development"--provides a comprehensive view of the prevailing socio-economic conditions in the Territory, and articulates various options to achieve broad-based and self-sustaining socio-economic development in an independent Namibia.
Published by the Lusaka-basedUnited Nations Institute for Namibia, the study was prepared by the Institute in co-operation with the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The study states that the socio-economicand political conditions in Namibia at the present were epitomized by South Africa's "pernicious policies based on racial discrimination and exploitation". Those policies had resulted in widespread poverty among the blacks and "considerable affluence of the privileged white community". Excessive exploitation of the mineral, agricultural and fishery resources, the externalization of the wealth generated in Namibia, the near complete neglect of the human resource development and the basic infrastructure for the majority "mean that major socio-economic restructuring will be needed upon independence".
An abridged edition of the comprehensivedocument on all aspects of socio-economic reconstruction and development planning for an independent Namibia identifies and prioritizes specific sectoral recommendations. The sectors dealt with are: macro economic structures, trends and perspectives; agriculture; water resources; fisheries; forestry; wildlife and tourism; mining; industrial development strategies and programmes; energy; transport and communications; housing and construction; commerce and external economic relations; education and culture; health and social welfare; regional development, urbanization and resettlement; community development; labour and employment; monetary system, financial institutions and public finance; national planning for socio-economic reconstruction and development; public administration; public enterprises; income distribution; women in development; science and technology; environmental protection; and legal and constitutional framework.
SWAPO President Sam Nujomatold the Conference that the study was comprehensive, covering all sectors of the Namibian economy and the socio-political environment in which it operated. It also had a focus on the future independent and self-sustained economy. It called for a sharp increase in state intervention in the economy, including state control and ownership of the commanding sectors of the economy. The study also recommended worker control, decentralization, expropriation of unused land for use by the indigenous population and diversification measures to reduce excessive reliance on mineral wealth.
The study's recommendations weremoderate, conciliatory and progressive, and suggested equal treatment for the populations in a future independent Namibia, he said. The study had been prepared with the assistance of Namibians. There was a need for follow-up programmes to the study. Financial and technical assistance would be required as physical and social infrastructure projects envisaged in the study came up for implementation after independence.
Jacob Mwanza, Vice-Chairman ofthe Senate of the Institute for Namibia, said more than 30 experts had contributed to the 1,008-page study. The document showed that South Africa had engaged in plunder of monumental proportions. Agriculture had been sadly neglected and mineral exploitation, which brought quick results, had been stepped up. For a long time after independence, the new Government of Namibia would be a crisis-management operation and would need all the goodwill of the international community. The study would be useful in helping donors identify areas of future collaboration. He appealed to the international community to start now to prepare for a massive assistance programme for Namibia.
Paul J.F. Lusaka (Zambia), Presidentof the Council for Namibia, said the study would be of immense practical value both in the current struggle for national liberation and in the nation-building period following Namibia's accession to independence. The importance of the document extended beyond the utility of its factual content. In the first place, it highlighted the deplorable contrast between the rich benefits, which Namibia's resources could yield to its people, and the actual state of poverty and deprivation imposed on them by South African domination. The study also provided a vivid illustration of the magnificent results which could be obtained when various members of the international community joined together in a common effort.
Hannu Halinen (Finland), speakingon behalf of the Nordic countries, said the Nordic countries were proud of their support for the Institute for Namibia. Much remained to be done in building up the future Namibian society. He appealed to all to be generous in supporting the cause of Namibia.
The study observes that SouthAfrica had "persistently betrayed" and "dishonoured" the trust of the international community over Namibia. Pretoria had imposed "a deliberate policy of race domination and ruthless exploitation" of the people and the economic resources of the Territory. "As a victim of apartheid expansionism and the doctrine of white 'supremacy', Namibia has been treated, for all practical purposes, as an extension of South Africa." As a result, the majority of whites who inhabited Namibia and controlled its vital institutions were South African citizens who had "plundered the Territory's resources to maintain white 'supremacy' and a high standard of living for themselves".
Namibians, the study says, has beenforced to live in "the semi-desert, infertile, barren and mountainous area" of the Territory. By forcing Namibians into such economically non-viable areas, South Africa had created pools of cheap labour for the white-owned farms and mines, as well as for various construction projects in "the white sector". There was a very clear-cut division of work between blacks and whites. While the whites commanded, organized and held most of the skilled posts, blacks mainly did the lowest grade administrative and semi-skilled manual work. Over 90 per cent of supervisory, professional, technical and scientific jobs, at senior as well as middle levels, were manned by whites; over 70 per cent of artisans and 40 per cent of clerical staff were also whites. Thus, except for a tiny percentage of black workers, the only alternative for the blacks in Namibia was to do manual work.
South Africa had enacted severalhighly repressive laws to enforce its labour system, according to the study. There were laws to enforce labour discipline among black workers, to prevent them from leaving their jobs against the wishes of their employers, to control the recruitment and distribution of black labour, and to drive all the unemployed into "reserves". The Namibian economy suffered from a lack of diversification and balance. Most of the investments by the transnational corporations and other companies in the Territory were in the export-oriented sectors--commercial farming, mining and fishing. The bulk of the investment came from South African, West European and North American sources. Although the three export sectors were developed, the country and its African majority were not the beneficiaries because of the major part of the profits was remitted abroad by transnational corporations and other foreign economic interests.…