Let’s take transparency lessons from Botswana
Instead of making it a toasting and handshaking affair, the visit of Botswana President Ian Khama to Namibia must be exploited to the limit and to the country’s benefit.
For decades now, Botswana has been the model of transparency in Africa. Transparency International, in its last assessment released in December, ranked Botswana as the least corrupt country in Africa followed by Cape Verde.
In fact, for 16 years in a row, Botswana was cited as being the least corrupt country in Africa, as well as among the least corrupt countries in the world.
Botswana – with other least corrupt countries in Africa such as Seychelles and Madagascar - is like an island on a continent that is characterised by public outcries over corruption, the impunity of government officials and economic instability.
There are so many similarities between Namibia and Botswana and it defies logic that we are nowhere close to our neighbour in so far as corruption is concerned.
In fact Namibia and Botswana are on par on many socio-economic indicators. Their population size is similar and the countries are ranked in the middle-income bracket.
But good governance appears to be the single biggest factor differentiating the two. While Botswana scored 6.1 points on the corruption index last year, Namibia settled for a paltry 4.4.
In Botswana, good governance has led to progress in human development. Despite obstacles, Botswana’s leadership has made the development of its people a priority.
Since the 1990s, hunger has declined from 14% to 6.5% and maternal mortality has been cut in half, from 300 deaths per 100,000 live births to 150.
Their economy revolves around investing in people and this probably explains why the ruling party in that country has stayed in power since independence in 1966.
Namibian leaders must ask Khama what the secret is to his country’s successes. He must tell them what the Batswana are doing so well that they are ranked among the top of Africa’s most prosperous nations in terms of governance indicators, including measures of accountability, political stability, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption.
So, before we start heaping praise on Khama for his efforts in relocating the De Beers Diamond Trading Company from London to Gaborone, we must urge him to share notes on how they are getting things right.