Slaying the generational wealth giant

28 September 2018 | Columns

The wealth gap between the previously advantaged and disadvantaged is a problem that most people are aware of in the abstract, yet it goes to the root of our aches and pains as a nation.

In the American context, much like in Namibia, wealth disparity between black and white families will take 228 years to close, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.

According to an article posted on the fastcompany.com website, generational wealth - financial assets that are passed on and built upon with each generation within a family - is critical for future financial security.

It's the foundation for opportunities and access to better education, health and jobs.

Namibia's colonial and apartheid legacy has created massive inequalities, which continue unabated.

The reality is that due to a succession of historical realities, the majority of blacks fail to leave behind generational wealth that can be inherited. And in turn, their children will be unable to do this for their children, and so this continues from generation to generation.

A recent global report shows the true depth of these inequalities and disparities in Namibia.

On face value, we are one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, per capita, but this wealth is mostly in the hands of the country's 3 300 millionaires and 120 multi-millionaires, in Namibian dollar terms.

According to Namibia's so-called wealth per capita, which is the third highest on the continent, every single individual in the country should have US$12 600 (N$182 070).

With this in mind, it is disconcerting to hear politicians saying poor people should not be given farming land, as land is a key tool in bridging the generational wealth gap.

Imagine the aspiration a child will enjoy, if they know they have to study hard to take up the challenge of making their parents' land a viable cornerstone of generational wealth. The same goes for urban housing. Why should we leave our children and their children these giants to slay?

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