There are certain similarities between Namibia and Libya. One of them is that Namibia is a rich country so was Lybia during the days of murdered leader Muammar Gaddafi.
At some point Libya’s standard of living was higher than that of Britain. At some point say every Lybian was given accommodation, sanitation, electricity and oil for close to nothing. Such were the exploits of the Lybian strong man who fortunately or unfortunately died a painful death that almost reduced him to villain.
Although there are so many theories to the death of Gadhafi we all cannot take away the fact that he did what he had to do for his people. In Lybia housing was a prerogative of the Government and the state made sure that every Libyan had somewhere to put their heads on the pillow at the end of the day. In fact those that were in the close cobal of Gadhaffi used to joke that it was only in Libya were every citizen was forced to sleep in a house as there was no need for homelessness as the Government gave the houses for free.
These are some of the traits that Namibia as a country can take from the Libyan way of dealing with unavailability of accommodation. There was no electricity bill in Libya; electricity was free for all its citizens, There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law, a home was considered a human right in Libya and all newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
The Government in Lybia used a model where they distributed accommodation to all the newly wedded couples in a bid to have the country to deal with homelessness. Lybia’s model worked exceptionally well and even saw Libyans living a life that far much better than countries like Portugal and Ireland.
The following are some of the benefits that Government of Libya assured their citizens.
1. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.
2. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipment’s, seeds and livestock to kick start their farms are all for free.
3. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.
4. If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.
5. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
6. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.
7. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.
8. A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
9. A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.
10. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.
11. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.
12. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
Coming closer to Namibia one does not understand how as a country we failed to implement a brilliant idea like the mass housing concept.
On paper the mass housing concept was probably the best that we ever had since independence and our Government has the resources to drive such an idea but somehow we are stuck with it.
Just like the Libyans used proceeds made from selling their oil to develop their infrastructure and standard of living for their people. For a country that has the fourth highest production of uranium in the world and is blessed with diamonds which are arguably the most sort after minerals not to have accommodation for only 2 million citizens is unexplainable.
+ Perhaps Government can use the same building brigades that were used in Libya where the army was used to build low income housing units.