- Breaking news: A severe drought countrywide has prompted President Pohamba to declare a state of emergency.
Natural Resources - are Namibians benefi ting?
Time and again Namibians are reminded how rich their country is in natural resources.
When government officials speak on international forums, they always tell the world that Namibia is endowed with many natural blessings.
What these officials usually fail to mention, is that the real owners of such resources – the locals – hardly benefit from these riches.
They hardly mention the fact that foreigners are the leading beneficiaries of our resources while the majority of the country’s own population lives in abject poverty and squalid conditions.
On paper, all diamonds, copper and gold under the Namibian soil belong to Namibians.
But in truth, foreign exploitation of Namibian resources is still there for all to see as manifested by continued attempts at neo-colonialism. This neocolonialism is sadly advocated by many leaders of this country, who, in cahoots with their foreign allies, push their own compatriots to the periphery in favour of foreign corporations.
Doing business in foreign countries is a popular global practice and we are not opposed to it. We too would like to see Namibians doing business in China, USA or Russia. But those countries would never allow foreigners to dominate their industries.
Our consistent mention of the word ‘foreigners’ should not be seen through xenophobic lenses because that is not who we are. But our dream is that of seeing Namibians enjoying the fruits of their own resources.
In Nigeria and Angola, locals enjoy heavily subsidised fuel prices. This is one way of giving the citizens benefits for their countries’ leading resources.
But what subsidies are Namibians getting from any of their resources? Why are most communities that have plenty of natural resources among the poorest?
Logically, one expects world-class infrastructure in most of the mineral-rich communities. Oranjemund’s diamonds are depleted but what does that town have to show for it as a modern-world-class city?
The communities in Erongo are amongst the poorest in Namibia, yet their region is the leading hub of uranium mining. Namibia is ranked the world’s fourth largest exporter of uranium and all these consignments are from Erongo.
When foreign mining companies come to Namibia, government officials will usually talk about the job opportunities that such investments bring. Are job opportunities all that the real owners of such resources are worth?
Giving people jobs is not a favour to those employed. Employers recruit people because there is a need for manpower to complete tasks that will bring about healthy returns.