Namibia is not a rich country, claims Utoni Nujoma
Like most African institutions formed for the development of Africa, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is one such organisation, albeit struggling to make its mark due to funding constraints and lack of legislative power to formulate its resolutions.
When the deputy speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Loide Kasingo, addressed Parliament last Tuesday, she said, “Africa is facing the challenge to resource PAP with its own resources. I call upon those sons and daughters of Namibia who experienced the continental solidarity and unity to not leave them idle. They need to be seconded to some of these continental bodies to assist each other”.
She continued that pan-African intellectuals, especially those in the diaspora, are in a better position to save Africa if they apply their skills.
Kasingo was updating the NA on the amended protocol of PAP, which was at the centre of discussion during the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Third Legislature of PAP in South Africa last month. PAP tabled its N$373m wish list in the 2014/15 budget, for the first time, in a decade.
But as much as Justice Minister, Utoni Nujoma agreed PAP needs funding, he said Namibia is too poor to fund an institution of that magnitude. That, according to him, is because Namibia is also struggling to fund itself.
“Do you expect Namibia to fund PAP alone or with other countries? Namibia is not a rich country. People say Namibia is a rich country but it is not. If Namibia were a rich country, we would have eliminated inequality,” Nujoma told Parliament, adding, Namibia is nonetheless committed to PAP but lacks the required resources.
PAP now turns towards professionals in the diaspora to ensure the continent restores its wealth.
African Union (AU) considers Africans in the diaspora as those of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the continent’s development, through it (the AU).
The African Diaspora makes up a population of 39.16-million in North America, 112.65-million in Latin America, 13.56-million in the Caribbean and 3.51-million in Europe.
According to AU data, prior to the financial crisis of 2008-2009, documented remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa were US$22b annually.
In 2010, remittances to sub-Saharan Africa were US$29b and the 2011 estimates stood at $31b. The 2012 remittances forecast was $31b and had been predicted to increase to $33b in 2013 while the forecast for 2014 is $36b and $39b for 2015.
All People’s Party’s Ignatius Shixwameni continued the debate by drawing back to Africans in the diaspora, asking if we can indeed “eliminate poverty if we draw African experts in the diaspora”.
He continued that Africa should be able to incentivise, especially African business people who have left the continent under special circumstances, for them to return to use its full resources to grow its economy.
Although the house agreed PAP needs funding, especially from its descendants beyond African borders, it also agreed differences and division of African regions, especially on religious lines, contribute to its inability to give it any legislative power.
Kazenambo Kazenambo, concurred Namibia is committed in spirit but not in funding. “Africa needs to resource PAP in spirit of Africanism and Namibia should be the first,” he said, adding, the African community should look beyond political differences, if the continent is to move forward just as the European Union, which is also known for partaking in some of the most gruesome wars, has been able to move beyond its differences towards a common goal.
Questions, however, remain; is Namibia capable of funding PAP? Will the six African regions be able to move past their political and religious differences for the sake of PAP? Is the Diaspora, PAP’s only salvation? -firstname.lastname@example.org