Select Page

It certainly was the Year of Revival

It certainly was the Year of Revival

By Dr. John Steytler
Written in his capacity.

Our Hon. President, Dr Hage Geingob, christened 2023 the Year of Revival., where he envisioned reigniting the strength of a resurgent nation. Looking back on this year, our President wasn’t wrong. Namibia has dusted itself off and stood tall in 2023, making strides that larger and stronger economies would be jealous of.

As Namibia, we even seem to have a bit of a spring in our step, some swagger. This was very evident at COP 28 in Dubai, where President Geingob received the prestigious African Presidential Green Infrastructure Investment Statesman of the Year award. Reflecting on this and my year personally and my surroundings, I see everyone is full of vitality; there’s optimism in the air.

As the former and founding Statistician-General of the Namibia Statistics Agency, I like to look at cold, hard facts. You can’t take a ‘feeling’ or a ‘vibe’ to the bank. Well, the cold hard facts say that the Namibian economy looks to be on course for a growth of approximately 4.5% for the year. The economy is recovering faster than analysts anticipated, including myself. Namibia is doing the ‘Year of Revival’ right. Numbers don’t lie; we are a resurgent nation and punching above our weight. The interest, investments, and activities in the energy sector, both renewables and oil and gas, mean our nation’s future looks positive. As always, there is a caveat: we must remember the economy’s fundamentals.

Namibia as a country and us as a population have come through a challenging period marked by drought, economic downturn, and COVID-19. Economically, socially, and individually, the impact was severe. Jobs were lost, we lost loved ones to COVID-19, the economy took a major hit, and companies went bankrupt. A positive turnaround was certainly not inevitable, and from an economic standpoint, we had to reimagine and reinvent our economy. This is where the pivot to renewable energy comes in and the oil exploration by major international oil companies. Even more importantly, we as Namibians needed to become ‘revitalised’.

Our populations needed to know understand, and process what we had gone through in the last few years. Part of becoming a revitalised nation meant healing from the knocks we took and adversity we faced. A revitalised nation needs a resilient population, which is easier said than done. You can’t just shake off the deaths of loved ones or create a new job out of thin air. We owe it to ourselves to work together as a nation, pulling in the same direction toward success. The true spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ comes to mind. Engaging and supporting each other, talking about the pressures and challenges we feel, and embracing our healing are as important as getting our economy back on its feet. A resurgent nation needs to be mentally fit, strong, and ready to take on the massive challenges of economic growth.

In my new role at DBN, where I took over from my excellent predecessors, we are taking a holistic approach to developing the economy and how entrepreneurs can become successful. Investing in business ideas and concepts is essential for growth and development. However, the people running these businesses need to be well-rounded and understand that running a business is not just about making a quick buck. Creating a nurturing environment where employers and employees can thrive and create a solid and long-term business that is destined for growth and will contribute to growing the Namibian economy and labour force is essential. It speaks to the true essence of revival and of a resurgent populace. It is the true embodiment of Ubuntu and Harambee, as has been championed by our President.

It will be my pleasure, honour, and duty to continue on the path of revival in 2024, and I hope we as Namibians, can do so together.

Happy 2024.


About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.