I am pleased to present the 32nd edition of the Namibia Trade Network (NTN) 2023/2024 under the befitting theme “Sustainable Growth” with a key focus on sustainable economic growth which can be achieved over time without causing irreparable damage to the environment and society. As headwinds from the recent economic events dwindle and global demand, trade and investment as well as supply chains recovers, governments and private sector are expected to collectively steer the world in a more sustainable economic growth trajectory.
It is however important to be cognisant of the pressing and growing challenge of climate change. While developing countries like Namibia are disproportionately affected by this phenomenon, it is crucial to leverage on innovations which can usher in a new growth path. Embedding a sustainable growth mindset can be a catalyst for increasing job opportunities, particularly in services, which are key to sustainable growth.
Future economic growth is entangled with climate change challenge. It is also critical to remain cognisant that the once apportioned goals of development and protecting the environment must be viewed in tandem. Slow economic growth has been observed during the transitional period from the pandemic with developing countries thus far having grown the least, being the most vulnerable to climate change.
Achieving economic growth must now be a priority and this daunting challenge is not insurmountable. The advent of innovations and technological advancement is unleashing new opportunities to grow while generating social equity and inclusiveness and ensuring that economic benefits are shared equitably across societies.
The need for stable energy supply is another important aspect to the industrialisation endeavors and investments in general. It is therefore vital to ensure that there is provision of affordable yet consistent energy to erode the global electrification divide while keeping the air free of pollutants.
Namibia offers a distinctive opportunity to position renewable energy at scale as the country seeks to optimize the production of affordable Green Hydrogen and Ammonia. This key developing sector has potential to lead Namibia’s energy independence, whilst also unlocking an opportunity for industrialisation especially in energy intensive sectors by generating affordable and clean energy.
This development harmonises engines of growth through the accumulation of new productive capacities in strategic sectors, is a vital component of our economic recovery plan which aspires to grow the complexity and diversity of Namibia’s economic structure.
Additionally, building other thriving critical industries in a sustainable manner has the potential to make a major contribution to solving the global climate crisis while also building broad-based prosperity for all Namibians.
Namibia being a forward – looking country is implementing policies on strategic investments to manage the risks and uncertainties from climate change, such as establishing safety nets and better informing their populations of impending dangers.
Sustainable growth is therefore not a mirage but an opportunity that can be firmly grasped by today’s developing countries. While these opportunities exist, the vast array of market failures that sap development also mean success is not guaranteed. Both a stable regulatory framework and functioning markets will be critical to realising the promise of sustainable growth.
It is therefore important to remain cognisant that by promoting economic development that is socially and environmentally responsible, Namibia can build a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for all.