NamibiaÔÇÖs competitiveness ranking worrying

Despite the fact that Namibia’s global competitiveness has improved from 92 to 84 out 140 countries, experts feel that much needs to be done in order for the country to achieve its developmental objectives.
Namibia has risen by one place on the Global Competitiveness rankings for 2016- 17 - to 84th up from 85th  with a score of 4.02 (3.99 last year).
The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) noted that it will take Namibia 25 years to overtake the top ranked African country, Mauritius at 45, despite the fact that Namibia has improved by eight places, according to the World Economic Forum’s report.
The IPPR added that if the rate of progress does not improve, Namibia would only reach its Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) targets by 2041 and not by 2020.
“Concerted efforts to achieve the desired outcomes and goals of the Harambee Prosperity Plan are likely to see Namibia making more significant moves up the rankings in the future. To achieve this several of the Harambee Plan’s proposed actions to improve competitiveness should be expedited,” the IPPR report compiled by its Director, Graham Hopwood stated.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Villager Dr. Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, who is a local economist, noted that Namibia was pulled up by three basic requirements: credibility of its institutions, stable macroeconomic environment and a fairly good infrastructure, adding however, that Namibia needs to seriously consider to fix loopholes that delays development.
“We need to be more concerned about the factors that pulls us down such as the current and future skills of the Namibian workforce which is directly related to health and primary education; and higher education and training. Lacking behind in these areas will definitely hamper Namibia’s ability to innovate and become a knowledge-based and competitive economy,” Dr. Kakujaha-Matundu said.
He, however, said that being the 6th ranked country on the African continent is commendable and added that Namibia should look at how to pluck the low hanging fruits.
“That is, what are those things that Namibia can do to improve its competitiveness globally, such as cutting the days of opening a business, as well as cutting red tape substantially. Although Namibia spend so much on education (at all levels), there is a need for a change around on how to improve the general, as well as the skills level of its citizens in order to become more competitive,” he said.
Currently, Namibia ranks highly for its institutions (39th), infrastructure (66th), and financial market development (49th), and labour market efficiency (32nd) but is rated poorly for the quality of its higher education (110th), health and primary education (121st), business sophistication (83rd), technological readiness (87th), and market size (113th).
In 2014, according to the World Economic Forum, Namibia benefited from a relatively well functioning institutional environment (50th), with well-protected property rights, an independent judiciary, and a fairly efficient government. The country’s transport infrastructure was also seen as good by regional standards (52nd) and financial markets continue to be reasonably developed (46th).
The forum recommended in 2014 that in order to improve its competitiveness, Namibia must improve its health and education systems. The country ranks a low 118th on the health sub pillar, with high infant mortality and low life expectancy, the result, in large part, of its high rates of communicable diseases, although the data point to an improvement in that year.