Articles on this Page
- 07/15/19--16:00: _‘Whomst’ are you?
- 07/15/19--16:00: _When accountability...
- 07/15/19--16:00: _Making waves
- 07/15/19--16:00: _Houses turned into ...
- 07/15/19--16:00: _APP on warpath over...
- 07/15/19--16:00: _Geingob preaches ca...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Alweendo calls for ...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Experts back Samaria
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Solskjaer confident...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Coaching casualties
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Exploring the minin...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _APP ta ningi omatil...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Geingob a gunu mbok...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Aapunguli yaGerman ...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Namibia not ready t...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Spotlight on financ...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _NDF getting a 'bad ...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Refugees target glo...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _Droughts, economic ...
- 07/16/19--16:00: _German investors tu...
- 07/15/19--16:00: ‘Whomst’ are you?
- 07/15/19--16:00: When accountability gathers dust
- 07/15/19--16:00: Making waves
- 07/15/19--16:00: Houses turned into ablution blocks
- 07/15/19--16:00: APP on warpath over late candidate
- 07/15/19--16:00: Geingob preaches caution
- 07/16/19--16:00: Alweendo calls for good leadership in sport
- 07/16/19--16:00: Experts back Samaria
- 07/16/19--16:00: Solskjaer confident De Gea will sign new deal
- 07/16/19--16:00: Coaching casualties
- 07/16/19--16:00: Exploring the mining landscape
- 07/16/19--16:00: APP ta ningi omatilitho
- 07/16/19--16:00: Aapunguli yaGerman ya sholola
- 07/16/19--16:00: Namibia not ready to legalise cannabis
- 07/16/19--16:00: Spotlight on financing water infrastructure
- 07/16/19--16:00: NDF getting a 'bad name'
- 07/16/19--16:00: Refugees target global markets with luxury crafts
- 07/16/19--16:00: Droughts, economic contraction, marginalisation and nationhood
- 07/16/19--16:00: German investors turned off
How do you respond to someone who asks: “What are you?”
Clearly, there’s no right answer to such a weighty inquisition; yet, when I was asked this very question by way too many people, I felt compelled to answer: “Human.”
One of my peers was still perplexed, however. He asked: “I’m an Ovaherero, but you’re definitely not, so what are you?” It was at this point that I realised two things: First, identity can be equated with ethnicity, which derives from one’s heritage, and second, this identity requires a label.
I recognised both ideas to be characteristics of society, although they never meant anything to me, personally.
It takes your brain about 39 milliseconds to form a first impression of a person. Evolutionarily, this neuronal speed is amazingly beneficial. Survival has required fast responses to an ever-changing environment.
In the modern world, however, this processing has its drawbacks, mostly due to the difficulty in changing that rapid first impression. Our preconceived notions about people are highly connected to first impressions, and it’s simply easier for the brain to group new acquaintances into pre-set categories.
To the brain, the additional cognitive energy needed to overcome this initial impression, with the pre-existent opinions likely underscoring it, just doesn’t seem worthwhile. What amounts to mere cognitive indolence, quickly devolves into the formation of stereotypes. And just like that, prejudice is born.
When I realised that my peer equated ethnicity with identity, I had never thought to call this chauvinistic. Chauvinism; the word carries powerful, negative references that are almost always derogatory.
As a young individual, I already had a sense of this correlation and didn’t think the questioning deserved this name; after all, I had come out unscathed. Without the social stigma, regional chauvinism is only, as Merriam-Webster defines it: “Undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs or has belonged.”
Though many would agree that chauvinism is but one component of identity, the two elements are too often used interchangeably. Of course, ethnic pride is healthy and normal. In fact, it is said that people who identify more strongly with their tribal group identity are generally happier. However, identifying strongly with a tribe should not be all encompassing. Individuals are more than their skin colour, their heritage and their culture, and people should recognise that about themselves and others.
Should we fail on this point, we would be submitting to pre-existing notions about ourselves and just continuing the idea that tribes and identity are coterminous. It is one thing to be proud of your heritage, but it’s entirely different to also limit your identity to it.
I confused my peer largely because I didn’t fit the tribal groups that already existed in his immature brain. Certainly it’s easier to identify with one’s tribe and base one’s entire identity on it, but to do so would cut off the non-tribal elements of one’s identity, as well as limit one’s perspective about the rest of the world. Being multi-tribal, while not ostensibly easier than belonging to any tribe, makes embracing these other elements easier.
Researchers found that high school students who identify with multiple tribal groups tend to be happier, less stressed and more socially engaged in school.
Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks led research that found individuals who associated themselves simultaneously with more than one identity were more creative and better at solving problems.
All of these advantages stemmed from the subjects’ multifaceted self-identification. When we detach identity from race, anyone, multicultural or not, can have this layered self-identification.
Since my encounter with my inquisitive peer, I have met many like him who pose similar questions and exhibit similar maturity.
Windhoek is one of the places where so much time and energy is invested in identity edification, and race-labelling is especially dangerous. Self-segregation into cultural or tribal cliques only stunts full self-understanding. We really should be asking ourselves who we are, not what we are. So the next time someone ask you what you are, you might as well tell them: “I am Namibian!”
It was reported at the time that Pohamba had inherited at least 14 such pending reports from Nujoma, which were said to be gathering dust at State House. Nujoma’s commissions investigated, among other things, the misuse of public resources at TransNamib, Air Namibia, the Social Security Commission, the now defunct Development Brigade Corporation, as well as the Roads Authority. An inquiry into the allocation and utilisation of fishing quotas, one into the cause of resistance in the then Caprivi Region and another into the appointment of certain senior public servants, were also commissioned. Pohamba’s presidential affairs minister Albert Kawana defended his boss in August 2014, saying he is under no legal obligation to release these reports. Fast-forward to 2019, and we are once again on the brink of a general election, and yet there seems to be no sign that these reports will ever see the light of day. President Hage Geingob, who has dubbed 2019 as “the year of accountability” has not given a whimper in this regard. Perhaps his accountability to the masses does not extend to reports that could potentially finger higher-ups in the shenanigans that Nujoma’s administration investigated.
For those following the state capture commission of inquiry in South Africa, yesterday was a huge milestone, as former president Jacob Zuma starting testifying. This is accountability of the highest order, as Zuma, who characteristically bobbed, weave and deflected, will have to defend himself against very serious allegations.
Yet in Namibia we seem to be lagging behind in terms of holding those with real power to account. This remains a slap in the face of those whose votes will be up for grabs later this year.
Alexander Skinner started swimming at a very young age and has had an exciting pool career to date.
Skinner, who trains at the Dolphins Swimming Club in Windhoek, is set to represent Namibia at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
He attended Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool (WAP) for 12 years, while also swimming at the Dolphins Swimming Club, and was coached by Janis Stergiades until his final year of high school.
He subsequently decided to further his academic and swimming career in the United States at McKendree University under coach Jimmy Tierney.
“He is a very well-respected coach in the United States, but I have Janis to thank for getting me to the United States,” he said.
Skinner said he swims nine times a week for two hours and hits the gym twice a week for an hour.
This is a total of 20 hours a week, and in the United States you are not allowed to practice more than 20 hours each week.
“This law is enforced by the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA),” he said.
At the recent Dutch Open Championships in Amersfoort in the Netherlands, Skinner broke two Namibian freestyle records. He swam the 50m freestyle in 23.23 seconds and the 100m free in 50.65 seconds.
According to Skinner his love for water is what inspired him to venture into swimming. His dad is one of his biggest inspirations.
“He was and still is a phenomenal, and he inspired my love for the sport. I love racing and that inspires me every day to get into the pool and practice,” he said.
Skinner added that his pre-race ritual involves listening to music a few hours before a race and a few minutes after. He said he stretches and warms up the same way every time.
Skinner said before a race he looks up at the stand and waves to his parents.
“The best part of swimming is my parents cheering me on the stands, with the biggest smiles on their faces. My parents and hard work is the reason for my success in swimming,” he said.
He mentioned that waking up for a morning swimming practice is a challenge.
However, his biggest challenge is motivating himself when times get tough. He also said he focuses a lot on his academics and the workload at the university is a big challenge, but he loves a good challenge.
Skinner has won quite a few big competitions in Namibia and in the United States. He placed among the top five in three of his races at the nationals in the US.
“I have the national records for the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle,” he said.
“I can, and I will, that is his mantra before jumping in for a race.”
Skinner said one of his most treasured memories is talking to some of the best swimmers in the world, knowing he is one of them.
Apart from swimming, Skinner also participated in other sport codes, such rugby, hockey and athletics until the age of 15.
He said it is very important for youth to do more than one sport at a young age. He said they should start focusing on their favourite sport at the age of 16.
“Sport is crucial in the development of children, and I might not be objective in this, but swimming is one of the best,” he said.
Skinner added that his biggest competition is himself and he wants to better his times and swim under 50 seconds in the 100m freestyle.
“I would be the first Namibian in history to swim under 50 seconds. I want to make myself, my parents and my coaches proud,” he said.
Facts about Skinner:
· He loves sport.
· Family and friends are everything.
· His love for water does not stop at swimming. He surfs every time he is in Swakopmund.
· He trusts the process.
· His dad is his hero.
· Being on the farm is his escape from reality.
When Namibian Sun visited the site, this reporter observed human waste on the premises.
The houses are without doors and windows and the roofing is not yet done.
This situation has not been well received by the stakeholders, including the Kavango West regional governor Sirkka Ausiku, who bemoaned the issue during her recent State of the Region Address (SORA).
According to the ministry of education, arts and culture spokesperson, Absalom Absalom, the project has been delayed because the contractor that had been awarded the tender, Reggy's Trading, could not complete the project and therefore the contract was terminated.
Absalom said Reggy's Trading did not accept the termination and the matter was being dealt with by the two parties' lawyers.
“The contract was terminated due to the contractor's inability to complete the project within the stipulated period. As to when the project is likely to be completed, there are issues around the termination of the contract and the contractor is aggrieved by this.
“As such, the matter is being handled by our lawyers. Also a letter of summons was issued to the contractor to appear in court,” Absalom said.
Absalom explained that Reggy's Trading was awarded the tender to construct 23 bachelor's flats and a two-bedroom unit in the Kavango West and Ohangwena regions, which included the three incomplete structures at Kasisvi Combined School.
Absalom said to date none of the planned buildings have been completed.
He said N$14.9 million was allocated for this project, and over N$6 million was paid to the contractor.
A lack of housing in rural areas has a negative impact on schools, as it discourages teachers to accept positions there.
The deadline for registration was at 11:00 yesterday, but Shilongo only showed up an hour later, while Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Oshakati East returning officer Efraim Iiyambo was presenting the candidates to the media.
According to section 81(1) of the Electoral Act 5 of 2014, a session for the submission of the nomination of candidates endures from 09:00 until 11:00, “but if at the last-mentioned hour any person present is then ready to submit the nomination of a candidate or a person has so submitted the nomination, but it has not been completed, the returning officer for the constituency must continue the sitting to enable the candidate to be duly nominated”.
The APP secretary-general Vincent Kanyetu said either the ECN allows their candidate to register or they will stop the election from taking place.
“It is true that our candidate showed up late for registration, but the Act is still clear that a candidate can still register between 11:00 and 12:00. We are waiting for them to inform us on the way forward, otherwise we are approaching the court to stop the election, so that everything starts over again,” Kanyetu said.
Iyambo said the registration time was sufficient and he made sure that all those who declared an interest were registered.
“Shilongo first started complaining about the road to Ompundja that it was not good so that he could come collect the registration form. About two weeks ago I took the form to their house. This morning (yesterday) I called him again that he must make sure he registers before 11:00,” Iyambo said.
The by-election was necessitated by the death of Oshakati East constituency councillor Lotto Kuushomwa, who passed away on 27 May.
Iyambo announced that six candidates have registered for the by-election scheduled for 24 August.
Swapo, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), the South West Africa National Union (Swanu), Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) and the Congress of Democrats (CoD) have registered candidates, while an independent candidate is also taking part.
Swapo is represented by Shikongo Abner, while Iyambo Ilias is the CoD candidate.
The PDM has selected Kamati Teophilus as its candidate, while Rebecca Kambayi is the Swanu candidate and Shaduva Festus Damamomwene will stand for the NEFF. The five are joined by independent candidate Fiina Kuutondokwa.
Iyambo urged the candidates to go out and campaign, in order to make sure the voter turnout is satisfactory.
He said training for voter officials will take place from 16 to 22 August, while election materials will be received on 23 August.
He added there will be 21 polling stations in total.
During the 2015 regional and local authority elections, out of 17 630 potential voters, only 5 881 cast their votes in Oshakati East. The late Kuushomwa won the election by garnering 5 559 votes, followed Daniel Andreas from the PDM with 241 votes.
Natangwe Shiwayu from the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) garnered 81 votes.
“This issue of land, used by some people for their own purposes can put this country at war. Civil war.
“That is how civil war starts, the emotions, politicians…” Geingob said yesterday at State House during a meeting with representatives of the ancestral land claims commission.
“No one is trying to do in the Namibian public, those who fought for the land are also demanding their land. Land was taken by the Germans and then the Boers took it during apartheid. Then Swapo and Swanu took up arms to fight for the land, and those people are also demanding.”
High Court Judge Shafimana Ueitele, who is chairing the commission, told Geingob that Namibians want government to place a moratorium on the resettlement programme and halt the sale of the Erindi Private Game Reserve to Mexican billionaire Alberto Baillères.
Ueitele said there was also a strong demand that the identification of ancestral land not be limited to pre-independence, but that it be expanded to the post-independence era.
He added the reasons cited by those who had already started attending the countrywide commission public hearings was that they had lost their ancestral to expanding urban centres.
Ueitele said Namibians had also complained that the demarcation of political regions for electoral and governance purposes had led to conflicting traditional authority boundaries.
“There is a perception that the current resettlement programme is skewed and imbalanced and does not address the land needs of the communities that were dispossessed of their ancestral land through German and apartheid colonialism. Some of these communities accordingly requested that the implementation of the resettlement programme be put on hold, pending the outcome of the recommendations from this commission of enquiry,” he said.
Ueitele added there is strong opposition to the sale of Erindi and that some communities have been calling for the sale to be put on hold, pending the outcome of the commission's work.
Opposition parties and several other interest groups have also condemned the sale of the 71 000-hectare game reserve, with Nudo saying government must stop the sale until all ancestral land is identified in the country.
Ovaherero and Ovambanderu community members also marched recently in an attempt to stop government from selling Erindi, land saying it is prime ancestral land.
The group, who marched under the banner of the Namibia Ancestral Land Foundation, said the land that now forms part of the game reserve was stolen from their forefathers after the 1904-08 genocide in which thousands were killed.
Ueitele also told the media that the commission will cost government between N$10 and N$15 million, and to date it has travelled approximately 9 000 kilometres while making courtesy calls.
The commission kicked off its public hearings this month, where it is accepting submissions and inputs.
Meanwhile, the commission's deputy chairperson Phanuel Kaapama said the public hearings are “on fire” and so many overlapping claims are being submitted in one area.
“We have seen in many places, for example in Aminius, where the Tswana are saying they were first and the Damara and the Ovaherero are saying they were also first,” he said.
Erindi opposition grows
Namibia's largest trade union federation, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), has previously said government betrayed the nation by approving the sale of Erindi to a foreigner, despite strong opposition to the deal.
Several other concerned groups and opposition parties, including Nudo and Swanu, have also urged government to halt the sale while the commission of inquiry into ancestral land claims completes its investigations. The Namibia Ancestral Land Foundation (NALAFO) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCRN) have also called for the Erindi deal to be cancelled.
Recently, 16 traditional authorities appealed to the government to place a moratorium on the sale of land to foreigners.
They also asked the government not to allow close corporations in which foreigners have controlling interests to acquire land in Namibia until mechanisms to address restorative justice are put in place. These should include policy and legal frameworks for the expropriation of land.
Geingob, who met with Baillères at State House last month, also urged the Mexican billionaire to invest further in Namibia, while Baillères raised concerns about the country's laws and whether his investment in Erindi would be safe, once his purchase offer has been given the green light.
The Erindi transaction is currently awaiting regulatory approval by the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC). This is a standard process where sizeable acquisitions are concerned and Baillères and his team are working closely with the NaCC to clarify the questions that have been posed.
The next step is for all the suspensive conditions that Baillères and the seller agreed upon to be satisfied, before the sale can be concluded.
Geingob, who described Baillères as a “special investor”, urged him to make use of other investment opportunities in Namibia.
He assured Baillères that Namibia is a law-abiding society, adding that a waiver was given by government to the owners of Erindi to sell the 71 000-hectare private game reserve.
Geingob also stressed that the farm is not suitable for resettlement purposes.
Speaking at the recent launch of the sixth edition of the Skorpion Zinc Under-17 tournament in Windhoek, the minister stressed that bad leadership is not good for sports and called on those involved to carefully select their leaders. “I am informed that we have a normalisation committee in football; this suggests that something was not normal, hence the need to normalise it. It all starts with leadership, so I wish you well in selecting the right leadership,” he said.
Alweendo stated that bad leadership might lead to young Namibians losing opportunities in sports.
Quoting American author Octavia Butler, Alweendo said the NFA must “choose their leaders with wisdom and forethought, because to be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears”.
His comments come at a time when the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) seconded a normalisation committee in February to run the affairs of the NFA following a protracted power struggle between former president Frans Mbidi and secretary-general Barry Rukoro. The Fifa NC's main mandate was to hold elections for a substantive NFA executive committee which will run the country's football affairs for the next five years.
The Skorpion Zinc Under-17 tournament will take place in Windhoek from 23 to 26 August.
Many believe that the African Stars mentor is the right man to lead the national team into the 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers.
Samaria, who will be assisted by Woody Jacobs, will see his locally based squad taking on the Comoros over two legs in the qualifiers at the end of this month.
Football expert and sport fanatic Isack Hamata believes that Samaria will be able to do the job given what he has achieved during his club career.
“Bobby is the most decorated coach locally. His interim appointment is well deserved.
“In terms of it becoming a permanent appointment, we will have to give the authorities time to conclude the recruitment process for a substantive national coach,” Hamata said.
Hamata felt that the coach will need the nation's support given the difficult task ahead of him.
“We should all rally behind Bobby and give him the necessary support.
“We have a tendency of campaigning for people to be appointed and then we are the same people who campaign for their downfall,” Hamata noted.
Former Orlando Pirates player and a legend in Namibian football Mabos Vries also felt that Samaria's appointment was the correct one.
“I do not have much to say about his appointment but the CV he has speaks volumes to that.
“He has achieved what could be achieved in local football and I believe he deserves a chance to prove what he can do,” Vries said.
The former football legend added that he will only be able to judge Samaria based on the results.
“As a guy from the south, I would like to see attacking and entertaining football from the team.
“I will however only base my judgement about his appointment on the results,” Vries reiterated.
The team yesterday began with their preparations for the Comoros clash and will be expected to continue camping until the actual match.
Namibia begins their quest to qualify away to Comoro Islands on 26 July before their return leg on 2 August in Windhoek.
In 2017, Brave Warriors forward Muna Katupose booked a place for the team in the 2018 Chan tournament after scoring a brace against Comoros with Ricardo Mannetti at the helm.
In 2018 at the Chan finals in Morocco, Namibia lost 2-0 to Morocco in the quarterfinals after winning two matches and drawing one in the group stage.
It was a performance lauded by many as the country advanced to their first-ever quarterfinals in the competition's history. This year, it will however be a different looking side with a different coach.
Local football lover Terry Kandjii said he was excited about the new coach but had hoped for Ricardo Mannetti to continue.
“It is always exciting when a new person comes in because we always expect positive change.
“I have been a fan of Bobby for a long time and I am sure he is capable of doing a great job.
“I just also hope that we will not regret losing Mannetti because he has done an amazing job and he could have remained there for the sake of continuity,” Kandjii said.
The Chan training squad is as follows: Larry Horaeb, Charles Hambira and Junias Theophilus (Tura Magic), Aprocious Petrus (Eleven Arrows), Kennedy Eib (Touch & Go), Mata Mbemutjiua (Young African), Jonas Mathias ( Citizens), Edmund Kambanda and Charles Uirab (Unam), Ratanda Mbazuvara, Treasure Kauapirura, Ivan Kamberipa, Obrey Amseb, Marcel Papama and Gustav Isaak (African Stars), Immanuel Heita, Dynamo Fredericks, Wesley Katjiteo, Vitapi Ngaruka, Emilio Martin, McCartney Naweseb and Wendell Rudath (Black Africa), Mapenzi Muwanei, Llewelyn Stanley and Absalom Iimbondi (Tigers), Isaskar Gurirab (Life Fighters), Elmo Kambindu, Olsen Ameb and Bernard Horaseb (Mighty Gunners), Panduleni Nekundi (unattached) and Revered Matroos (Young Brazilians).
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa
United's pre-season tour of Australia has been overshadowed by speculation over the future of several stars, including De Gea, who is in the last year of his contract and has been linked with French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
The Spaniard is reportedly close to signing a new five-year deal with United worth in excess of £350 000 (N$6.05 million) per week, which would make him the highest paid goalkeeper in the world.
De Gea was rested for United's pre-season opener against Perth Glory on Saturday, but will line up today against Leeds to wrap up the Red Devils' 10-day visit to the Western Australia city.
“He'll play and hopefully we can agree (on a new deal) with David, as I've said a few times,” Solskjaer told reporters.
“That'll be up to David to announce when that happens, if and when.”
The United boss refused to be drawn in on whether Leicester City and England centre-back Harry Maguire was on his way to Old Trafford.
“There's been loads of speculation but I can't really say anything,” Solskjaer said.
“There's a limit of players and whoever performs will be part of the team, and whoever doesn't, they will have to fight to get back in.”
After an unconvincing 2-0 victory over a depleted Perth, United will be hoping for a better performance against Leeds. The rivalry has simmered since Leeds' relegation from the English Premier League in 2004, but hostilities between the passionate fan-bases is still evident, with extra security measures being put in place by the organisers at Perth Stadium. Solskjaer said United were excited to renew the rivalry. “Of course you want to have games against the biggest clubs,” he said. “It's a great occasion for both sets of supporters and the players, because there were great games (in the past).”
Romelu Lukaku, who is reportedly looking to secure a move to Inter Milan, is set to play his first pre-season match against Leeds, after recovering from a “niggle”.
However, Luke Shaw is likely to miss out after suffering a hamstring injury in the match against Perth.
United will have further pre-season games against Inter Milan in Singapore on 20 July and Tottenham in Shanghai on 25 July, while Leeds will head to Sydney to face Western Sydney Wanderers.
Paul Put was fired by Guinea on Monday, despite his side reaching the last 16, while Ricardo Mannetti's future is in doubt after Namibia's Brave Warriors lost all three their group games. The future of two-time Cup of Nations winner Herve Renard, who coaches Morocco, also appears uncertain at best, with local media on Monday trumpeting his departure, only for the coach to leave his immediate future unclear with an opaque statement.
“At my request, I have met (Fouzi) Lekjaa, president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation,” said Renard.
“We have taken stock of the competition that has just ended for us. We also talked about the future, I gave him my opinion. We have agreed not to make any public statement.”
Morocco had been one of the pre-tournament favourites, but their elimination on penalties by tiny Benin in the last 16 was a major shock for the tournament and an embarrassment for the North Africans.
Frenchman Renard, 50, won the title in 2012 with Zambia and in 2015 with Ivory Coast, and had a good chance again of an unprecedented third title with three different countries.
Put traded blame with captain Ibrahima Traore over tactics at the tournament and his dismissal was announced by the Guinea Football Federation, which accused him of meddling in financial matters.
The Belgian, who had been in the job for 16 months, rejected the charges.
The 44-year-old Mannetti appears to have departed after five years in charge of Namibia, an unusually long tenure by African standards, and was replaced on Monday by Bobby Samaria on an interim basis. It was previously reported that Mannetti has the option of reapplying for the post once his contract expires on 31 July.
AB: The mining industry is one of the four pillars of Namibia’s economy, the other pillars being fishing, agriculture and tourism.
In Namibia there are currently 174 active and pending renewal mining licenses and the industry’s contribution is mostly from a limited few mining companies relating to diamonds, uranium, gold, zinc and copper.
None of the local mining companies are listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) and therefore information is not publicly available. However, important contributions the mining industry made to the Namibian economy for the 2018 financial year, as obtained from the 2018 Annual Report of the Chamber of Mines, are as follows:
* 22% growth from the previous year;
* 14% direct contribution to GDP of Namibia;
* 50% on average of Namibia’s export revenue is accounted for from mining;
* 9 500 temporary and permanent employees with a total wage bill of N$6 billion; and
* N$6.25 billion contributed in terms of taxes, royalties and levies to the government of Namibia.
These figures relate to the 2018 calendar year and we have in all likelihood progressed further en route to achieving goals set out as part of the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), i.e. reaching 15.2% of Namibia’s GDP by 2022.
Exploration is an important part of the future of mining operations and to ensure sustainable growth. As at 9 July 2019 there were more than 1 400 exploration and prospecting licenses active and in the 2018 financial year N$573 million were spent on exploration activities.
Given the above statistics, it is clear how important the mining industry is to the economy of Namibia without even considering the multiplier effect of all the mining peripheral services and purchases from the local communities and contractors.
B7: What are the most significant tax developments and how do they impact on mining?
AB: The Chamber of Mines stated that currently mining companies are paying in excess of 20% of revenue and 50% of profits generated to the government through taxes, royalties and levies.
In the 2019 budget speech the minister of finance proposed 12 amendments to the current Tax Act of Namibia. Of these the following will have a direct effect on the mining industry:
* Repealing the Export Processing Zone and introducing the Special Economic Zones, with a sunset clause for current operators with the EPZ status;
* Abolishing the current practice of a conduit (flow through) principle in the taxation of trusts;
* Introducing a 10% dividend tax for dividends paid to residents;
* Disallowing deductibility of fees and interest paid to non-residents for calculating taxable income until payment of withholding tax paid is proven; and
* Disallowing deductibility of royalties for non-diamond mining entities.
Disallowing the deductibility of royalties will have the most significant impact as it is expected to have a detrimental effect on the viability of existing and proposed operations of the mining industry in Namibia.
The industry is already under pressure as a result of low commodity prices and the financial models are cost-sensitive. Imposing additional taxes in the form of disallowing the deductibility of the royalty payments could result in unwanted consequences for the economy in the form of job losses and the withdrawal of investment from the country as payments to government will then even more exceed 50% of profits generated.
In addition to the effect on the above proposals, PwC performed a paying taxes study in conjunction with the World Bank Group. It indicates that it takes an annual average of 302 hours and 27 tax payments to be tax compliant in Namibia.
That placed Namibia 81st out of 190 economies surveyed on the ease of paying taxes. Not only does this place a significant administrative burden on the companies, but also makes Namibia a less attractive option to invest in.
B7: What are the biggest challenges facing mining currently?
AB: Significant challenges facing the mining industry will be the commodity prices and exchange rates.
Due to the consistent low uranium price various mines are in care and maintenance as the cost price exceeds the spot price. Low commodity prices with a low exchange rate as was the case for the majority part of the 2018 financial year results in revenue being substantially lower and companies less profitable.
Namibia has a small population and there is a significant skills shortage in the market. As a result expats with the required knowledge and experience are obtained on work visas, which also has its challenges. Due to this skills shortage there are capacity constraints impacting the production of the mining industry.
The labour costs in the mining industry in Namibia are regarded as high if compared to other developing countries around the world. This coupled with extensive labour relations and negotiations make Namibia a less attractive investment for foreign investors.
Lastly government regulation with the proposed changes affecting the mining industry has a significant influence on foreign investors in determining whether to invest in Namibia.
B7: How can these challenges be overcome/mitigated?
AB: Commodity prices, in particular uranium, are forecasted to increase in the medium to long term which will make mining more viable in future. As such mining companies must implement cost-cutting measures to withstand this period and ensure they benefit from the better commodity prices in future.
The mining industry collectively spent N$148.7 million in 2018 on skills development in various forms from on- and off-site training to bursaries for students to study both locally and abroad. Furthermore there are institutions like NIMT that does extraordinary work in developing artisans and equipping the youth to develop the specialised skills needed to work in the mining industry. This will decrease the reliance of obtaining the expertise required from expats and reduce capacity constraints.
The Chamber of Mines, representing the mining industry in Namibia, has a very good relationship with government and regularly consults with government on new proposals - for example the proposed tax changes, ownership of mining licenses and EPLs and the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) - to find solutions which are beneficial to both the industry and government.
B7: What growth opportunities are in your sector?
AB: The growth of this industry is in the exploration activities performed.
Due to technological developments and better methods of mining various resources it becomes more viable to mine resources with lower grades which was not the case in the past. It is therefore important to be an attractive option for foreign investors in order for exploration activities to be performed which could result in future mining operations.
Due to the amount of EPL currently active and amount spent by the industry it is testament that a lot of effort is going into identifying viable resources to mine and expand the industry.
B7: Any closing thoughts?
In the face of all the change and challenges experienced and the current economic climate of Namibia, the mining industry is not only of paramount importance to Namibia’s economic growth and sustainability, but also to Namibia’s social political wellbeing.
The mining industry spent N$73.1 million as per the annual report on social corporate responsibility and now also recently announced that the industry will contribute N$5.15 million towards drought relief, thus testament of the important role the industry has within Namibia.
We as citizens of Namibia therefore need to work together to make the country attractive to foreign investors to maintain the mining industry.
Esiku lyahugunina lyomaishangitho olya li Omaandaha potundi onti 11:00 ihe Shilongo okwa thiki konima yowili yimwe omaishangitho ga hula nale, pethimbo omunambelewa gwomahogololo mokakomisi koElectoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) mOshakati East, Efraim Iiyambo a li ta ulikile iikundaneki mboka yiishangithwa.
Pampango onti 5 yOmahogololo yomomvula yo 2014, montopolwa onti 81(1) yOmahogololo omaishangitho ohaga ningwa pokati kotundi onti 09:00 sigo 11:00, ihe ngele ope na ngoka a thiki potundi yahugunina a pyakudhukwa okugandja edhina lyomuhogololwa nena omunambelewa gwomahogololo ota vulu okutsikila sigo omuhogololwa a shangithwa.
Amushanga gwongundu yoAPP, Vincent Kanyetu okwa popi kutya ECN na pitike omuhogololwa gwawo iishangithe nenge otaya ka ya moshipala omahogololo ngoka.
“Eeno oshili kutya omuhogololwa gwetu okwa thiki a lata ihe ompango otayi utha kutya omuntu natango ota vulu okwiishangitha pokati kotundi onti 11:00 notundi 12:00, na otwa tegelelwa ye tu lombwele kutya otatu ningi ngiini.
Iyambo okwa popi kutya ethimbo lyokwiishangitha olya gandjwa lya gwana na okwa kwashilipaleke kutya mboka ya holola ohokwe okwiishangitha oya shangithwa.
“Shilongo tango okwa tameke ta nyenyeta kombinga yondjila ndjoka ya uka kOmpundja kutya kayi li nawa opo iile ombaapila yomaishangitho, na onde ya faalele ofoloma kegumbo lyawo iiwike iyali ya piti. Ongula yonena onde mu dhengele kutya na kale a kwashilipaleka kutya okwiishangitha omanga otundi onti 11:00 inayi dhenga,” Iyambo a popi.
Omahogololo ngoka otaga ningwa sha landula eso lyakansela gwoshikandjohogololo Oshakati East, Lotto Kuushomwa, ngoka a hulitha momasiku 27gaMei.
Iyambo okwa tseyitha kutya aakuthimbinga yahamano oyiishangitha momahogololo ngoka taga ningwa momasiku 24 gaAguste.
Mboka yiishangitha ongundu yoSwapo, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), South West Africa National Union (Swanu), Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) oshowo ongundu Congress of Democrats (CoD). Okwiishangitha woo omuhogololwa iithikamena. Swapo ota kalelwa po kuShikongo Abner, omanga Iyambo Ilias ta kalelepo ongundu yoCoD.
Ongundu yoPDM oya hogolola Kamati Teophilus, Rebecca Kambayi ota kalelepo ongundu yoSwanu, Shaduva Festus Damamomwene ota kalelepo ongundu yoNEFF. Boka otaya wayiminwa komuhogololwa iithikamena Fiina Kuutondokwa.
Iyambo okwa kunkilile aakuthimbinga opo ya kaninge omahwahwameko ya kwashilipaleke kutya iizemo yomahogololo otayi ke ya shambula.
Okwa popi kutya edheulo lyaanambelewa yomahogololo otali ningwa momasiku 16 sigo 22 gaAguste omanga iilongitho yomahogololo tayi yakulwa momasiku 23 gaAguste.
Otaku ka kala omahala gokuhogololela geli po 21.
Pethimbo lyomahogololo gomalelo ngoka ga ningwa momvula yo 2015. Mokati kaaishangithi yomahogololo o 17 630, aantu owala yeli po 5 881 ya hogolola mOshakati East. Kuushomwa okwa sindana omahogololo ngoka nomawi 5 559, a landulwa kuDaniel Andreas gwoPDM ngoka a zimo nomawi 241.
Natangwe Shiwayu gwongundu yoRally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) okwa mono omawi 81.
“Elongitho lyoshikumungu shevi ndyoka tali longithwa kaantu yamwe po nomatompelo gawo yene otali vulu okutulitha oshilongo shika miita. Iita yopashigwana osho hayi tameke ngaaka.”
Omupanguli mOmpangu yoPombanda, Shafimana Ueitele, ngoka e li omunashipundi gwokomisi yomapulaapulo kombinga yuuthiga wevi, okwa lombwele Geingob kutya AaNamibia oya hala epangelo li tulepo omulandu kombinga yomatulululo nokuya moshipala elandithepo lyErindi Private Game Reserve ke kenge lyaMexico Alberto Baillères.
Ueitele okwa popi kutya oshigwana tashi pula woo opo edhidhiliko yevi lyuuthiga kali tamekele owala pethimbo oshilongo sha manguluka ihe nali tameke woo omanga oshilongo inashi manguluka.
Okwa gandja woo omatompelo ga gandjwa kwaamboka ya kutha ombinga momutumba dhoshigwana ndhoka dha ningwa moshilongo ashihe kutya otaya kanitha evi lyawo lyuuthiga koondoolopa ndhoka tadhi nenepekwa.
Ueitele okwa popi kutya AaNamibian otaya nyenyeta kutya etopolo lyiitopolwa yopapolotika momahogololo oshowo epangelo otashi etitha omananathano goongamba dhomalelo gopamuthigululwakalo.
Okwa popi kutya ope na omaiyuvo kutya omulandu gwomatulululo ngoka guli miilonga otagu tongola na itagu tala shili kekandulepo lyompumbwe yevi mokati kaakwashigwana mboka ya pumbwa evi na oya kuthwa evi lyawo okupitila muukoloni. Yamwe otaya pula woo oprograma yomatulululo yi kalekwe manga sigo kwa gandjwa omagwedhelelo okuzilila momikutumba ndhoka tadhi ningwa kokomisi.
Uetele natango okwa gwedha po kutya ope na epataneko enene lyelanditho lyErindi naakwashigwana yamwe oye wete shi li mondjila okukaleka manga elanditho ndyoka sigo kwa gandjwa oshizemo shiilonga yokomisi.
Oongundu dhompilameno nadho odha pataneke elanditho lyevi ndyoka lyuunene woohecta 71 000, nongudu yoNudo oya holola kutya epangelo nali kaleke elandito ndyoka sigo oshikumungu shevi lyuuthiga sha pu okukundathanwa.
Iilyo yaakwashigwana yOvaherero oshowo Ovambanderu oyali ya ningi ehololomadhilaadhilo omasiku ngaka yeli ompinge nelanditho lyErindi, taya popi kutya ndyoka evi lyuuthiga.
Ongundu ndjoka yi li kohi yedhina, Namibia Ancestral Land Foundation, oya popi kutya evi ndyoka oli li oshitopolwa shevi lyuuthiga na omanga ehala ndyoka inali ningwa lyopaumwene olya kuthwa oohekulu konima yomadhipago ga kinahenda ngoka ga ningwa moomvula dho 1904-08 moka mwadhipagelwa AaNamibia oyendji.
Ueitele okwa lombwele iikundaneki kutya okomisi ndjoka otayi ka pula epangelo oshimaliwa sha thika poomiliyona 10 no 15, nomonena oya enda oshinano shookilometa 9 000.
Okomisi ndjoka oya tamekitha omitumba dhawo omwedhi ngoka na otayi kutha omaiyuvo okuza moshigwana mboka yiikumungu yevi.
Omupeha omunashipundi gwokomisi ndjoka, Phanuel Kaapama okwa popi kutya omaiyuvo goshigwana kombinga yevi lyuuthiga oga londa pombanda noonkondo a gandja oshiholelwa moAminius moka AaTswana taya popi kutya oyo ye ya mo tango omanga AaDamara taya popi kutya oyo ye yamo tango.
Ehangano enene ekalelipo lyaaniilonga moshilongo lyoNational Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) olya nyenyeta kutya epangelo olya nu po oshigwana sho lya zimine elanditho lyErindi komuzaizai, nonando oshigwana itashi popile elanditho ndyoka.
Oongundu dhontumba mwakwatelwa ongundu yopolotika yoNudo noSwanu, oya pula epangelo opo li kaleke elanditho lyehala ndyoka sigo okomisi yomapulaapulo mevi lyuuthiga ya mana omakonaakono.
Namibia Ancestral Land Foundation (NALAFO) oshowo Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCRN) nayo oya pula elanditho ndyoka li kalekwe manga.
Omasiku ngaka natango omaleli gopamuthigululwakalo geli po 16 oga pula epangelo opo kali pitike elanditho lyErindi kaazaizai.
Oya pula woo opo epangelo kali pitike omahangano gopaumwene moka aazaizai ye na mo oopresenda dhekondololo ga lande evi moNamibia sigo kwa ungaungwa nonkalo ndjoka.
Geingob, ngoka a tsakanene naAlberto Baillères Egumbo lyEpangelo omwedhi gwa piti, okwa pula ekenge ndyoka lyaMexico opo Ii pungule woo palwe moNamibia omanga Baillères a gandja omaiyuvo ge ngele epungulo lye mErindi otali kala tuu lya gamenwa ngele olya pitikwa.
Elanditho lyErindi transaction olya tegelela ezimo okuza koNamibian Competition Commission (NaCC).
Günther, ngoka ta kwatele komeho osheendo shaanapolotika oshowo aanangeshefa yaGermany moNamibia okwa tsu omuthindo kutya aanangesehfa yaGermny oya hala okupungula moNamibia ihe osha simana kuyo pu kale pe na omilandu dhopaveta.
“Gumwe oku na okukala a kotoka ngele tashi ya pokwaadha uuthike pamwe pokati kaaluudhe naatiligane, ndjoka ompito. Ihe inatu pumbwa okwiidhimbika kutya ongeshefa tayi pungula oshimaliwa shoka oshinima shiikalekelwa na inashi pumbwa okutulwa mumwe, onkene ongeshefa moNamibia osha simana kutya oompango dhimwe odha yelitha kutya aazaizai naya kale ye na egameno lyontumba uuna yahala okupungula,” Günther a popi pegumbo lyepangelo, pethimbo a tsakanene nOmupresidende, Hage Geingo mOmaandaha.
Okwa popi kutya osha simana aapunguli ya kale ye na ontseyo kutya oompangu odh eya gamena ngiini muule wethimbo ele.
Geingob okwa popi kutya okwaahathike pamwe paliko okwa etithwa komadhipago gakiinahenda ngoka ga ningwa kuGermany oshowo aakolonyeki yalwe naashoka oshi li einda nonando epangelo otali kambadhala.
Okwa popi kutya Namibia okwa holola okwiiyutha koompango nokupopya kutya okwa tula po ompito yokulanditha poErindi Private Game Reserve komuzaizai nonando AaNamibia kaye na evi.
“Oto pungula ngiini moshilongo shoka tashi yaka omulilo ngula? Moshilongo shetu okwaahathikepamwe okwiikwatelela kolwaala, naashoka osha yooloka kiilongo yimwe. Itatu ti itatu ka kwatako okuza kaantu mboka nokugandja kaathigona … nenge okukutha kaatiligane nokugandja kaaluudhe ihe aaludhe omo yeli muka,” Geingob a popi.
Sho a ningilwa omapulaapulo kombinga yomapopyo gaGünther, Dr Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, omutseyinawa paliko okwa popi kutya ota popi owala ngaaka onga omaipopilo sho Germany ke wete mo ohokwe yomapungulilo moNamibia.
Okwa popi kutya aapunguli ihaya shololithwa konkalo yooveta nenge kiita ngaashi miilongo Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) oshowo Syria, moka iiyemo okuzilila momapungulo yi li pombanda.
Okwa popi woo kombinga yoNational Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) moka mwa tothwa mo oopresenda 25 dhuumwene tadhi gandjwa po, shoka nena tashi ka etitha ongeshefa yomutiligane tayi gandja po oopresebda 25 dhuumwene wongeshefa kaantu mboka ya kala inaya talika nale monakuziwa onga shimwe shomwaambyoka tayi ningitha ngaaka.
Kakujaha-Matundu okwa gwedhapo kutya oya hala owala okuheka epangelo opo li ninge omalunduluko ngoka taga vulu nokuli okushunitha pevi oompito dhomapungulo.
The minister said Namibia should first deal with “one of the most devastating legal drugs in the world - alcohol” which has become an increasing problem in the country.
In response to increasing calls for Namibia to decriminalise cannabis, with many touting the potential health and economic benefits for the country's citizens, Shanghala on Thursday told the National Assembly “Namibia is not ready to manage the legalisation of cannabis or marijuana”.
He noted that 71 cannabis-related cases are currently before the High Court, and all are related to recreational uses.
The minister said the courts take the issue of cannabis seriously. Someone who had been found in possession of 16 grams of cannabis, valued at less than N$500, was sentenced to five years behind bars in 2016.
“Cannabis is a serious offence in Namibia, because Namibia is not able to deal with the devastating effects of the drug on our people,” the minister argued.
He also claimed that “it is apparent that the drug is sold in lower-income areas with households that are already struggling.”
This claim was rubbished by the group Ganja Users of Namibia (GUN) in a statement released in response to the minister's remarks.
“We call on the minister not to mislead the nation by saying it is only poor people who use cannabis,” the advocacy group stated, adding they estimate at least 200 000 Namibians, “rich or poor”, use the plant.
Gun described the minister's arguments against the substance as untrue and misleading.
“The justice minister must refrain from commenting on cannabis if he knows nothing much about it,” they stated.
Among several claims the minister made to boost his argument against legalising or decriminalising the substance, he said “marijuana is addictive; it is known to cause schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders”.
He further argued there have been reports that the drug has negative effects on cognition and can impair driving abilities or work, and could lead to anxiety, short-term memory loss and hallucinations.
The minister also claimed that a “compelling argument” is that cannabis has negative health effects in both adolescents and adults.
He argued that the country does not have sufficient alcohol rehabilitation centres and only 19 registered psychiatrists, and would not have the capacity to deal with the “explosion of depression cases flowing from the use of marijuana if legalised”.
He further claimed that cannabis use amongst the youth has been associated in a study with a “six-fold increase in future Ecstasy consumption”.
Shanghala advised those interested in having cannabis registered as medicine to apply to the Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council.
“There is no harm in that,” he said.
The minister did admit that components of marijuana have a potentially therapeutic effect to alleviate symptoms of diseases such as cancer, but said there are legal medicines available “that do what cannabis is purported to do”.
In response to the ministerial statement, GUN has appealed to the public and the National Assembly to reject those views and repeal laws criminalising cannabis.
GUN argued there has been “countless proven scientific and medicinal evidence that says cannabis is one hundred times safer than alcohol.”
The advocacy group further argued that while many Namibians want to replace pricey prescription medicine with cannabis, doctors are not ready to prescribe it to citizens because of the risks involved.
“The demand from users who need to use cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes is huge,” GUN stated.
GUN referred the minister to a petition handed over to parliament earlier this year to “familiarise himself” with the content.
The petition noted that the country should legalise “a harmless plant for which people are being imprisoned and fined for no reason”.
The event is initiated by Open Africa and will officially be opened by water minister Alpheus !Naruseb tomorrow.
The water ministry has allocated 25% (about N$490 million) of its annual budget in the current financial year to developing water infrastructure. According to the organisers, the event is designed to focus on the building and maintaining of 'best-in-class' water assets across the country.
The roundtable discussion will provide the ministry and government with a specialist industry platform to illustrate how the national water sector will be developed over the next five to 10 years. The roundtable will cover a full range of issues connected with the preparation and delivery of water-related infrastructure, both in Namibia and abroad. The event will draw on proven regional strategies that effectively facilitate the integration of public sector resources and private sector financing to develop water infrastructure and build resilience through better water management.
A key focus of the event will be on appropriate financing mechanisms, in particular public-private partnerships to procure and develop major water projects and services. The speakers will include renowned experts such as Walid Madwar, the vice-president responsible for business development at Metito Utilities, as well as Archie Chiromo, the principal investment officer at the African Development Bank (AfDB). NamWater CEO Abraham Nehemia, as well as local and international water treatment consultants, will also address the event.
Pinehas made these remarks during a media briefing at the NDF headquarters in Windhoek following recent reports of the alleged illegal occupation of Farm Etiro by communal farmers.
The acting chief said section 26 of the Defence Act 1 of 2002 prohibits and provides for punitive actions towards any member of the public who illegally trespasses on military premises.
He said farmlands acquired by the defence ministry are not meant for farming but for defence purposes, adding that as a result, media reported negatively about the issue at hand.
“This negative reporting is not only tarnishing the NDF but is also painting a wrong picture of the internal security situation,” said Pinehas.
He emphasised that subsection (2) of section 14 of the Defence Act empowers the minister of defence to, inter alia, acquire, hire, construct and maintain defence works, ranges, buildings, training areas and land required for defence purposes.
He further pointed out that due to a lack of training areas, the ministry, under which the NDF falls, had to resort to acquiring more land (including Farm Etiro) to fill that void.
“In the past, we allowed communal farmers to graze their animals in our training areas such as Osere-kari and Oshivelo, however, we have come to regret that decision,” he noted.
He further pointed out that the invasion of Farm Etiro started in March this year and as a result, the population of cattle in the farm swelled to over 1 000, with about 30 kraals.
“It was at that point that we decided to instruct them to stop trespassing on defence's property and remove their cattle,” he said.
Pinehas confirmed that farmers who had occupied the land have since removed all their cattle from the farm situated some 20 kilometres east of Karibib in Erongo Region.
According to the police's weekly crime report, five men, aged 24, 38, 43, 49 and 63, were allegedly assaulted by members of the Namibia Defence Force at Farm Etiro near Karibib last week, on Thursday morning. The police say the men were beaten up after they had refused to remove their cattle from the farm. Charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property are being investigated.
The 22-year-old woman, whose family fled to Kenya almost two decades ago, has no formal training in design and tailoring, no experience in sales and marketing - and certainly no contacts in the haute couture realms of Gucci and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Even the small room on the outskirts of Nairobi where she and 18 other refugees gather to learn how to measure, cut and stitch is a far cry from the glitz and glamour of legendary stores like Selfridges, Galeries LaFayette and Barneys.
But a new luxury brand - MADE51 - which brings high quality refugee-crafted home decor and accessories, from cushion covers and lampshades to scarves and bracelets, to global markets - could empower Claudine and thousands of refugees like her.
"I know how to sew, but have only managed to sell a few small pieces - it's difficult to find proper work as a refugee," said Claudine, carefully threading the needle of her sewing machine during her MADE51 training session.
"Now I am learning to make things more precisely for foreign customers and understanding about design and quality. I can earn money and it will help me when I start my own fashion label."
Launched by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in 2018, and named after the 1951 Refugee Convention, MADE51 links refugee artisans with social enterprises - that seek to do good and make a profit - which help them create high-end products.
More than 1 500 refugees from 15 countries such as Burundi, Afghanistan, Syria and Myanmar have so far been recruited to create a stylish collection of MADE51 products, from cashmere throws with crochet insets to hand-knotted sheep's wool rugs.
"When refugee artisans flee their countries, they flee with their skills - and that is something that can be built upon in their host countries where they often have to stay for many years," said Heidi Christ, Global Lead of MADE51 at UNHCR.
"We are still creating and building the brand and face challenges such as finding international retail partners, but we are promoting the MADE51 products at major trade fairs like Ambiente in Germany and the feedback has been positive."
In fact, the brand has already attracted some high profile players - with Britain's Prince Charles purchasing MADE51 carpets crafted by Afghan refugees, and the exclusive store Harrods of London showcasing their throws by Syrian refugees.
More than 25 million refugees across the world have fled their countries due to conflict, disaster or persecution, UNHCR data shows.
Many are unable to return home for years due to prolonged conflict or drought and languish in camps, where they depend on meagre foreign aid handouts and are often perceived as a burden.
While many refugees bring embroidery, weaving, wood carving and pottery skills to their host nations, they face barriers in getting jobs - from outright bans on working to bureaucratic bottlenecks in attaining work permits.
Kenya, for example, hosts about half a million refugees from countries such as Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, but most are confined to camps and prevented from accessing the labour market.
One solution could lie in tapping into refugees' existing artisanal skills to create authentic, high quality and sustainably sourced hand-made products for the mushrooming global handicraft market, say industry experts.
International trade in artisanal crafts has more than doubled over the last decade - generating US$35 billion in export earnings in 2015, latest UN data shows.
"Refugee artisans have the potential to be incorporated into the global artisan sector if they are assisted," said Sarah Abdella-El Kallassy, research consultant at the US-based Artisan Alliance, hosted by the Aspen Institute think-tank.
"Long-term market access is a major challenge for all artisans. For refugees, especially those in refugee camps, this challenge becomes even more formidable."
With greater awareness of ethical consumerism, increased tourism and travel, and rising demand for unique products, this could represent a sizable opportunity not just for refugee artisans - but also for their host nations.
Social enterprises like Kenyan firm Bawa Hope, which exports brass jewellery made by artisans in Nairobi's slums to countries like Germany and the United States, say working with refugees under initiatives like MADE51 can also boost their business.
"We gain a new line of products to sell, get technical expertise from MADE51's designers and support with product visibility, with UNHCR promoting our products at international trade fairs," said business development manager Andrew Mutisya.
"We will be able to scale up and train more local and refugee artisans. They will also learn skills and start their own businesses, and this will be a boost to the local economy."
So far, 26 social firms have joined the MADE51 initiative to build a collection which ranges from handwoven sweetgrass and raffia baskets made by Burundian refugees in Tanzania to handloom woven scarves by Myanmarese refugees in Thailand.
Refugees like Claudine - who are being training by Bawa Hope to create a line of handbags and beaded jewellery to add to the MADE51 collection - are hopeful.
"We are still finalising our product - but I think international customers will like it," said Claudine.
"I will use this experience and make my own exclusive fashionwear collection one day. It will be called Anita's Kollection - that's Kollection with a 'K'."– Nampa/Reuters
Namibia is facing one of its severest droughts in years. Its severity is the culmination of three incidents of drought in the past 10 years, the impacts of which have been felt in the crop production and livestock sectors, nationwide. Sizeable numbers of animals have perished and crop production is virtually non-existent in many regions. Historically, incidents of drought were localised and the affected farmers could relocate to other parts of the country in search of grazing. This year, the affected farmers have nowhere to migrate.
Under normal conditions, a healthy economy could reduce the impact of drought by allocating resources to the importation of food for human consumption, and fodder for animals. Additional finances should be dedicated to improving access to, and the quality of, water supplies for citizens and livestock. Sizeable quantities of water, under controlled conditions, can also be availed for small crop production.
Unfortunately, Namibia is facing an ongoing economic crisis with consequences that impact basic service delivery. Namibians have little control over drought, but there is action that can be taken to mitigate or prevent the current crisis. Had the economy been healthy, with policymakers dedicating appropriate financial resources, the catastrophic impact could have been diminished. Uncontrolled increases in national expenditures have resulted in a situation where income from revenues are inadequate to meet the needs of the country.
For 30 years, Namibia has spent excessively on projects that generated negligible returns in the form of increased revenue to the state, employment, human resource development, efficiency and profitability in critical industries, or reduced our dependency on imported food, electricity, or petroleum products. These commitments were made in the absence of impact or risk assessments to measure their viability.
The decisions to invest in these projects were made by a team of individuals with 'shared values'; occupants of the 'House'. Interestingly, others who are perceived to have reservations and/or different views about some of these projects, were considered threats. State resources, in the form of expensive legal teams, have become tools for marginalising and purging them from the system. To date, some of these labour disputes are unresolved and the nation does not benefit from their skills and expertise.
Ironically, the state of the economy and continuous droughts do not discriminate. All Namibians, those inside the 'House', and those outside, are affected.
As we have witnessed in numerous African nations, protracted economic crises are root causes of conflict. As the competition for limited resources intensifies, so will tension along regional, racial, and tribal lines, accompanied by the erosion of trust in the government.
If communities become fragmented, it will be difficult to rebuild the nation. Economic crises can also lead to increased migration of skilled personnel in all industries, and can create unfavourable procurement conditions that discourage investment.
Within this context of economic uncertainty, it is important to identify solutions because Namibians deserve a healthy and robust economy built on a foundation of shared values. For Namibia to embark on the construction of the economic recovery road, it is important to address some critical questions:
Is it realistic to expect those who created these adverse conditions to provide adequate solutions to the economic challenges that the country is facing?
With such a history of institutionalised marginalisation and job reservation, what role can the outsiders play in resolving this crisis?
Should a marginalised individual simply say, “Let bygones be bygones, and let us move forward as patriots?”
What guarantee is in place that, after the marginalised groups have rendered their expertise and the economic crises are resolved, the practices of discrimination would not resume?
There are far more questions than answers.
*Kuiri F Tjipangandjara (D Sci Eng), is a former employee of NamWater, the University of Namibia and Rössing Uranium mine. He holds degrees from Lincoln University and Columbia University in the USA
Günther, who is leading a political and business delegation to Namibia, emphasised that German businesses want to invest, but it is important for them to have legal certainty.
“One has to be very careful when it comes to achieving equality between black and white - that is an opportunity. But we should not ignore that businesses investing money is a separate issue. That should not really be mixed up. So for businesses in Namibia, it is important that certain laws are defined that foreigners have some kind of security when they want to invest,” Günther said at State House yesterday, where he met with President Hage Geingob.
He added it is important for investors to know how laws protect their interests over a long time.
Geingob said inequality in Namibia, caused by the German genocide and the subsequent apartheid regime, remains a threat, despite guarantees created by the government.
He said Namibia has proved that it adheres to the rule of law and also pointed to the proposed private sale of the Erindi Private Game Reserve to a foreigner, despite the fact that hordes of native Namibians are without land.
Geingob added that addressing inequality cannot be compromised.
“How do you invest in a country that will go up in flames tomorrow? In our country inequality is based on colour, which is different to other countries. We are not saying we are going to grab from these people and give to poor people… or take from the whites and give it to blacks, but blacks are here,” Geingob said.
When approached for comment Dr Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, an economist, said Günther's talk of policy uncertainties may in actual fact just be an excuse, as Germany may see no attractive ventures in Namibia.
According to Kakujaha-Matundu investors are not put off by policy uncertainties or even wars, such as in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Syria, when returns are big.
“I believe foreign investors do not see any bankable ventures here because of Namibia being a small market, the distance to the market, our proximity to South Africa, which is a very big market, and economies of scale,” he said.
He also pointed to the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF) as the biggest elephant in the room, but added the controversial 25% ownership clause, which would have seen white-owned businesses having to sell off 25% of their businesses to previously disadvantaged Namibians, was now off the table.
“It looks they are just want to twist government's arm to make so many concessions, which won't even attract investors,” Kakujaha-Matundu added.