Economic powerhouse, PSG Namibia, has predicted that the ruling Swapo party’s political dominance is set to remain for at least the next two elections but has maintained its current political risk rating unchanged at low with the overall trend neutral.
In its quarterly report for June 2018, the firm has decried that although the ruling party has romped to victory in previous elections without interruption since 1989, ruling with siginificant majorities, “but in the process accountability, transparency and governance standards have suffered.”
“Namibia, pre-and post-independence, has been fortunate to enjoy a robust, fearlessly-independent media and, with the added benefit of strong democratic institutions, several key protections against the abuse of power exist.”
“But ultimately, the best protection against the abuse of power is the threat of removal by democratic process. Namibia does not have that protection and Swapo’s political dominance is set to remain for at least the next two elections. Unchecked power will likely lead to increasing levels of corruption and mismanagement. We maintain our current political risk rating unchanged at low with the overall trend neutral,” says the firm.
On social issues, the firm also observes that in spite of efforts to alleviate poverty, the country remains with the challenge of inequality.
“In 2016, the NSA recorded income inequality using the Gini coefficient at 57.2, down from 60 in 2004 but still among the highest in the world. The proportion of the population living in poverty (measured as living on $1.90 per day or less) declined by around 12 percentage points from 29% in 2009/10 to 17% in 2015/16, according to estimates by the Global Consumption Income Project (GCIP)."
“Meanwhile, performance on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), which is a composite index of life expectancy, GNI per capita and average years of schooling, has also shown some improvement, with an increase in its score from 0.572 in 1990 to 0.640 in 2015 (maximum is 1). Namibia still falls under the ‘medium human development’ category and is ranked 125th out of 188 countries.”
On top of this, the HIV pandemic continue to be a headache and Namibia is among the eight countries with the highest HIV/Aids prevalence rates in the world.
In 2016, 234 000 people were living with the disease with roughly 77% (180,000) aware of their status.
“That year, around 4,300 Aids-related deaths were recorded, a significant decline from around 11,000 in 2005. The leading causes of death following HIV/Aids are lower respiratory tract infections and stroke. Progress in reducing under-five mortality has been slowed by the HIV/Aids epidemic.”
“After increasing for much of the 1990s (reaching 78 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001), under-five mortality has once again begun to decline and is expected to halve to around 38 deaths per 1,000 live births over the 2015-20 period, according to the UN,” says the firm.