Turning risks into opportunities

25 June 2020 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



The Covid-19 pandemic has showcased the interconnected nature of socio-economic challenges and integrated responses.

It has also highlighted the extent to which a single phenomenon can impact all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This was said in a recently launched policy brief by the United Nations (UN) Namibia office titled 'Covid-19: An emerging development challenge, but opportunity for the SDGs in Namibia'.

The brief was compiled by UN resident economist Eunice Ajambo, and positions economic transformation in the context of Covid-19 and analyses how Namibia is currently fairing through a socio-economic impact assessment to generate short-, medium- and long-term recommendations.



Mitigating risk

Ajambo said she believes economic transformation is at the centre of mitigating risk to shocks and enhancing resilience.

“For economic transformation, employment is the cornerstone of links between economic growth and social development,” she said.

She added that Namibia's commitment is evident in the range of strategies and policies in the country and that to further fully unleash the benefits, identification of critical challenges, constraints and opportunities needs to happen, based on policy space, institutional capacity, potential policy synergies and trade-offs.

According to her, this will enable the selection of forward-looking priorities for the country, including sectoral policies and private sector development.

“The opportunity for economic transformation requires that all stakeholders work together; it calls for a multi-stakeholder, holistic approach which can ultimately recalibrate Namibia's future forever,” Ajambo said.



Protect most vulnerable

The brief lauded government's swift action to stabilise the economy, which was already suppressed.

But it also cautioned that a targeted fiscal stimulus needs to protect the most vulnerable from the downturn, particularly labour, whose spending can then hopefully boost aggregate economic activity.

“Namibia also instituted monetary policy through reduced interest rates and thus there were already existing measures to stimulate the economy alongside the temporary relief of the stimulus package, in line with policies, quite similar across the sub-region.

“For the fiscal stimulus to work, it is essential that resources are spent and not saved. Thus, consumption must align with demand and supply in the economy,” the brief stated.

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