Matter of Opinion

Implications of Covid-19 on achieving the SDGs in Namibia

According to the National Planning Commission Director General in the Voluntary National Review: 2018, Namibia has embraced sustainable development as its national planning approach. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has casted a shadow of doubt on whether the country will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030, in the face of the inevitable collapse of the global economy that has made trade-related targets look more daunting than before.

This development is of great concern, especially given the fact that even prior to this crisis, Namibia was already falling behind in efforts to achieve them.

Challenges
The pandemic presents the following challenges to the economy: Demand- and supply-side shocks: Namibia will be hit hard because of its dependence on trade as a driver of economic growth, small domestic markets and low levels of diversification, which increase vulnerability to external shock.

Global recession: The outbreak is affecting the three major hubs of the global economy – Asia, Europe and the U.S. – which are Namibia’s top trading partners. As these economies enter recession, Namibia’s trade volume will shrink and decrease the likelihood of achieving the SDG targets.

Increased economic vulnerability: The global economic ramification of Covid-19 is the reversal of the previous economic development trajectories prior to the pandemic. Such dramatic turn does not augur well with the efforts to achieve the SDGs by the year 2030.

Recommendations
There are at least three immediate actions and policy responses that Namibian can consider in this regard. These actions must be taken, to ensure that adequate finance is channelled to support progress on the SDGs (i.e. particularly trade-related targets). Firstly, Namibia needs a coordinated stimulus package, which includes reversing the decline in aid and increasing concessional finance.

Secondly, to prevent a debt crisis, Namibia must be allowed to immediately suspend re-payments and reassess debt sustainability beyond the crisis.

Thirdly, the monetary authority must continue to stabilise financial markets by continuing to inject much-needed liquidity.

Furthermore, in partnership with the private sector, government must continue to roll over debt to SMEs and individuals.

* By Mr Mally Likukela, an Economics Lecturer in the Faculty of Management Sciences at NUST. The views and opinions expressed herein are purely his own.

Date: 
Friday, June 12, 2020
for Month: 
June, 2020

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