Madam Monica Geingos has really taken the Politics of Geing-nomics to a noble and sustainable level! The 1 Economy Foundation is such a practical manifestation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan and a proof of what is right with Namibia. Compassionate Economics is good for the whole society. People need to feel included and cared for to be able to positively contribute to inclusive peace, shared prosperity and genuine stability.
Socio-economic exclusion breeds radicalization and gives birth to socio-political violence.
As a preventive strategy, this is why I am penning this piece to applaud the First Family for creating a fertile political, social, psychological and economic environment with their Mantra of Harambee, which the First Lady has done well to implement and complement. I personally would like to be more involved with these types of pro-social projects and smart ideas that are meant to create a Positive Psychology and Sustainable Sociology in Namibia.
While doing my doctoral studies in Malaysia a few years ago, I picked a few ideas that I would like to share that seem to fall within the political economy discourse and category of Inclusive Economics. These ideas are shared with an intention of creating a critical debate and eventually seeing them implemented in Namibia, for they can only help to materialize more of the ethos and strategic goals of the Harambee Political Philosophy.
I am throwing these brilliant ideas into the society and the government in particular, in the hope that the economic planners and policy makers will find them actionable enough to incorporate them into the implementation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, particularly on the Pillar of Economic Advancement. The idea I have is a smart and joint venture amongst the following direct stakeholders – the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia Bus and Tax Association, Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and SME Development, Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (local and regional government), the Private Sector through National Chamber of Commerce and Team Namibia. The other stakeholders would also include the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Ministry of Works and Transport and Presidential Economic Advisory Council, amongst others. Only that I am not quite sure what actually happened to the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth, my idea would be a perfect candidate for TIPEEG! Let me now come to it.
The simple goal is to help professionalize the Taxi Industry, promote the Tourism Industry/Country while reducing unemployment and eradicating poverty – Multi-Dimensionality. From the side of the government, there will be need to budget some good money (divert from new Parliament?) to buy a number of decent and executive cars that can be used as Harambee Taxis! These taxis will be heavily subsidized by the government and private sector (car dealers) to be sold to professionally trained taxi drivers. Part of the professional training will include customer service, country tourism promotion, civil education, professional self-presentation and general language skills, naturally in the official language, namely English. These taxis will be offered to selected individuals who will be recruited through a normal employment recruitment process.
These Harambee Taxis will be branded with government approved messages and glossy tourism advertisements. The drivers will be given professional uniforms, with their names on, and they will be treated as para-employees of the government, within the principle of public private partnership model. The idea is that the drivers will have an option of eventually owning the car through a mutually agreed low monthly instalment to the government, not directly to car dealers, hence the government’s direct involvement in the project. The government will need to express interest in the maintenance of such cars!
The Dankie Botswana Taxis and Jan Japan phenomena come to mind, where affordable cars came into the Namibian market and created more employment for the taxi industry since the cars are relatively affordable. The key difference with Harembee Taxis is that they are not going to be ‘cheap imports’ but very good quality cars that have an executive feel and look meant for the tourism industry and generally promoting a good image of Namibia to tourists and locals alike. The idea needs to be smartly conceived so that it does not threaten the current Taxi System but rather neatly complementing it through government targeted employment creation strategy. The idea is basically to have the government subsidize the acquisition of a taxi for a private individual and then finally help such an individual to eventually own a commercial car. Hence, the joint operations amongst the suggested stakeholders! In short, this is what the idea is strategically about. I am sure the President will love this smart idea and get it implemented; the ‘struggle kids’ will also be catered for!
• Dr Armas EE Shikongo, Community Psychology Lecturer and Head of Post-Graduate Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNAM. The article is written is his personal capacity.