Friday, 20 May 2011

Future Namibia - Foreword by Andimba Toivo ya Toivo

I feel very much honored to be asked to write a foreword to this book by a political and economic researcher about our country and our times. The author of this book has spent many years studying the political and economic set up of our country. In my opinion, he has come up with many constructive ideas that can contribute to Namibia`s development.

During the liberation struggle, we were building our sand castles and dreaming of how we wanted an independent Namibia to be. After we took the reins of power, we realized that it was not so easy to realize our dreams. It became apparent that even if the leaders of the government have good ideas, they cannot implement programmes and projects alone, but must rely on the commitment of civil servants to work in the interest of the Namibian people. As we set about to transform a system that has been based upon apartheid and colonialism, we were also challenged to transform the thinking of some staunch supporters of the old regime whom we had inherited as civil servants. These were not easy tasks, and we undoubtedly made mistakes. This was to be expected, because in life, one cannot completely avoid mistakes, and as politicians, we had no formula for how to build a prosperous and stable new nation.

One of our biggest shortcomings is that we have not been able to develop our economy to provide sufficient employment opportunities for our young people. It is pathetic to drive around the streets and to see young people standing along the side of the road from early morning, waiting for a Good Samaritan to give them any type of work. It is also disturbing that even some young people who have obtained university qualifications, either in Namibia or abroad, are not productively employed.

We know that this problem cannot be solved simply be ensuring that employers have capital and equipment to build their businesses. Their business cannot grow without appropriately-skilled workers. It is obvious that we must think “out of the box” and test new solutions to the problems of unemployment and underdevelopment in order to eradicate the plague of poverty in a country that has every possibility of becoming prosperous.

Fortunately, we have intellectuals outside the government who follow national developments closely and with a critical eye. The author of this book is one such person. Milton Louw has been observing and studying the progress made by political leaders of our country and has now come forward to share his insights and recommendations for governance, economic and social development and for how to avoid mistakes in the future. I am proud that we have Namibians who have the courage and the discipline to develop their ideas and to bring them to a public arena for consideration. I am
particularly impressed that Mr. Louw has made proposals for: greater transparency in governance; education of young people in morality and ethical behavior; expansion of consumer rights; promotion of information and communications technology; measures to nurture entrepreneurism and to support business development; and strengthened social protection of vulnerable people. Because he is outside government, he may not be aware that some of his proposals are similar to government initiatives already in operation or in preparation.

We need not agree with every aspect of Mr. Louw`s broad-ranging analysis or with all his proposals in order to benefit from his ideas. I recommend that readers, including present and future political leaders, consider his ideas in the open manner that he has presented them. I hope that this will encourage more Namibians to bring to the public their ideas and proposals for how to better build our nation, through writing books and opinion articles and through scholarly research.

I commend Milton Louw for his efforts and hope that many will follow his example. 

Andimba Toivo ya Toivo
13 May 2011