Namibians determined to overcome Covid-19 challenges

The Bank of Namibia predicted that the country's domestic economy would contract by 7.8 percent in 2020 compared to a contraction of 1.1 percent in 2019.

12 January 2021 | Economics

We have since remodelled our business approach, and we hope to do better this year despite the increase in confirmed cases and stringent measures put in place. Romeo Junior, Businessman: Rundu

NDALIMPINGA IITA

Namibians have welcomed the New Year 2021 with optimism for socio-economic prosperity and improved health despite challenges brought by Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, 33-year-old Ester David started selling fruits and vegetables at an informal market in Windhoek. It is her first income-generating venture since she lost her casual worker job in construction last year following a sluggish economic growth and Covid-19 outbreak.

The Bank of Namibia predicted that the country's domestic economy would contract by 7.8 percent in 2020 compared to a contraction of 1.1 percent in 2019.

Statistics also show that 5 748 people in Namibia lost jobs in the first quarter of 2020, according to the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation.

David is optimistic that 2021 will offer better prospects. "I am so relieved that 2020 is over. Having endured a difficult 2020, I am hopeful that this year I will be able to rebuild my life from this informal trade," David said.

Romeo Junior runs a business in Rundu, a town situated in the northeast of Namibia. His business suffered major losses due to Covid-19 and the crippled domestic economy. Like many entrepreneurs in the country, Junior is much relieved that 2020 is over.

"Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 derailed business, and we were caught off-guard. We have since remodelled our business approach, and we hope to do better this year despite the increase in confirmed cases and stringent measures put in place," said Junior.

OPPORTINITIES

Citizens are also hopeful for better opportunities. Selma Nawases, a resident of Khorixas in Kunene region, northwest of Namibia, said that she simply wants stability.

"I hope to secure a permanent job and improve my livelihood," Nawases said. While for John Simon, he is hoping for the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.

"Hopefully it will have a positive impact on those infected by the virus," he said.

Namibia's Ministry of Health and Social Services said it has paid 1.9 million US dollars to the COVAX program in procuring the Covid-19 vaccine and targets to have 20 percent of its population vaccinated.

Furthermore, religion fraternities are also praying for improved health as Namibia struggles with the second wave of Covid-19 infections.

"We pray for a better 2021, and we hope to witness more compliance by citizens to curb further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are also hoping for a year of social and economic prosperity for all," said Revered Tarah Shalyefu, a local pastor.

In the interim, in his New Year message, Namibian President, Hage Geingob declared 2021 as a "Year of Resilience". – Nampa/Xinhua

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