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Private Portfolio – Our future in a woman’s hands

This time of the year in journalist speak is “cucumber time” meaning that there is virtually no news and that you have to dig up anything remotely newsworthy to fill the blank pages of the newspaper. So please allow me to peel a cucumber or two in this my last column for the year.
I can tell you with a lot of clarity and without having to look into a crystal ball that next year, how it will turn out and how it will affect the entire planet, is firmly in the hands of Angela Merkel and her colleagues in Europe. If they get their ducks in a row and in time, we can look forward to a super year of renewed enthusiasm and super growth in most economies.
However, if they again don’t get it right, we are in for a year where we will have to tighten our belts to the point where our faces turn navy blue. It’s a six or a nix and it’s Mrs Merkel out on the batting pitch. My hope for all of us is that she’s not thrown a curveball.
Economists think if the Europeans don’t get it right this time round, Europe, the UK and the USA will be in big trouble and it will impact on us in Namibia significantly.
On a different note, I see that Namibia is sort of a medium corrupted country in Africa with our neighbour Botswana the least corrupted and most others more corrupt than us. These findings are based on the perception of the people interviewed.
To be just somewhat corrupt is like saying I am OK, I just have a little AIDS. Who are you bluffing?
Which brings me to the concept of a kleptocracy. According to Wikipedia, a kleptocracy is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service. This type of government corruption is often achieved by the embezzlement of state funds.
Kleptocratic rulers typically treat their country’s treasury as though it were their own personal bank account, spending the funds on luxury goods as they see fit. Many kleptocratic rulers also secretly transfer public funds into secret personal numbered bank accounts in foreign countries in order to provide them with continued luxury if/when they are eventually removed from power and forced to flee the country.
Kleptocracy is most common in third-world countries where the economy is dominated by resource extraction. Such incomes constitute a form of economic rent and are therefore easier to siphon off without causing the income itself to decrease (for example, due to capital flight as investors pull out to escape the high taxes levied by the kleptocrats.
An early phase of this is driven by tenderpreneur elites who seek to capture resources for personal benefit. Has a familiar ring to it? Only time will tell.
It certainly would be a wonderful day when people proudly do the jobs they get paid for and not insist that the man in the street pay them to either do their job, allow them to jump the queue or to not do their job. It’s an unfair and corrupt practise that spreads very quickly, is illegal and it’s costing our economy millions in unproductive expenses.
I wish all the readers of this column a peaceful festive season and I hope we can all start 2012 with renewed energy and the will to make Namibia the prosperous country it should be.

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