The Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Bishop Zephania Kameeta said that the importance of the private sector in the fight against poverty should not be overemphasised and its crucial role in the national discussions on wealth redistribution can not be ignored.
Kameeta said his ministry is going to initiate nation-wide wealth redistribution consultations in their bid to arrest poverty as assigned by the President. Kameeta said for the impact of the private sector and corporate social investment on poverty eradication to be seen, businesses should no longer be as usual.
“We need to move beyond the typical voluntary corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, and embrace more inclusive mechanisms that put the poor as part of the value chains as either suppliers, suppliers distributors or retailers in the core business of companies,” he said.
He said that while they are aware of the availability of myriad of research, papers, projects and programmes on poverty reduction measures from the from a number of Government, non- Governmental Organisations and churches, there is still a great need to consult widely on how poverty together as Namibians.
Kameeta added that the recently concluded Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, reiterated and re- affirmed the role of the private sector as a valued partner in the collective efforts to support the sustainable development agenda post 2015
“I have noticed with great appreciation over the past few months that I am in office, that the wind of change is sweeping across the private sector in Namibia, in its quest to complement government efforts in fighting poverty and other social ills,” he said.
He further went on to say that as government is looking at modalities of wealth redistribution to arrest poverty, all possible measures should be employed, including legal instruments if necessary to encourage effective, efficient and targeted private- public partnerships for sustainable poverty eradication in Namibia.
“As we are busy preparing for the establishment of Food Banks across the country to fight hunger and malnutrition, I am being informed about the readiness of the private sector to assist, which is indeed commendable,” he said.
At the occasion of the 4th Annual Summit on Corporate, Social Investment in Windhoek Kameeta said that the nation-wide consultations are visualised to gather opinions from all spheres of society including the rural poor, in order to translate their views on how to fight poverty, into actions.
“The national dialogue is envisaged to be launched in two weeks, where after a series of consultations will be undertaken at various levels under thematic areas,” Kameeta said.
He added that the series of consultations will culminate into a national conference, which in turn will set out the national blue print on poverty eradication in Namibia.
Kameeta said that the task of alleviating poverty that has been mandated to his ministry is only appearing too daunting to those with little faith.
“I strongly believe that opportunities to abolish hunger and poverty are no longer aspirational but achievable,” he said, adding that although his ministry is new, poverty eradication has been a common threat in all of the country’s development plans at all levels, even since independence.
“As a result, with the creation of the Ministry solely responsible for poverty eradication, our strength as a Ministry first and foremost, will lie in the coordination of all these poverty reduction efforts to ensure that they culminate the eventual eradication of poverty from our society,” Kameeta said.