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Statement by His Excellency Dr Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia on the Occasion of the New Year 2024, Sunday, 31 December 2023

Fellow Namibians,

When I look back to the past 12 months, which have defined the Year of Revival, I am pleased with the giant steps we have made as Namibians towards our collective prosperity. We are on course in our ambition to leave Namibia in better shape, come March 2025. The foundations of the Namibian House have been strengthened. Namibia is on course for a sustainable economic revival.

Many Namibians will recall the difficulties we experienced over the past years, starting with a global commodity crisis in 2015, which led to protracted declines in Government revenue, affecting the implementation of the ambitious development and infrastructure manifesto the Government had planned to implement in the noble pursuit of prosperity for all.

Many Namibians will also recall that between 2016-2019, the country experienced the most severe droughts to be recorded in Namibian history, forcing Government to spend in excess of 3 billion Namibian Dollars on drought relief to the affected sectors of our population.

Undoubtedly, Namibians will not forget the calamity and devastation in 2020 caused by the invisible enemy, the Covid-19 pandemic. Namibians from all walks of life lost their loved ones; lockdowns impacted sectors of our economy; businesses closed down; job losses occurred in the services sector, specifically in tourism. The policies we engineered during the pandemic, the fiscal support Government provided to businesses and cash grants availed to over 500 000 Namibians allowed the most vulnerable Namibians to absorb the Covid-19 shocks. As we traversed these difficulties, the Government increased the old-age pension grant from a meagre 600 Namibian Dollars in 2016 to 1 400 Namibian Dollars. Before I leave office, I hope that the Old Age Pension grant will be increased to 2 000 or even 3 000 Namibian Dollars. Food Banks, which are now being converted into a Conditional Basic Income Grant were rolled out to all regions of the country, assisting food insecure Namibians in urban and peri-urban areas.

The Harambee Prosperity Plan II, which I launched as part of a post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan, with a specific focus on strengthening our social safety nets and the creation of new engines of growth is bearing fruit. The Government established the Welwitschia Fund to enhance national resilience and to promote intergenerational prosperity through redistribution of benefits from our natural resource endowments.

Today, the tourism sector is returning to pre- Covid-19 levels. In 2023 alone, sixty-four cruise liners docked at the Port of Walvis Bay, bringing thousands of tourists and revitalizing small businesses in the tourism sector. Duo to these efforts, according to the Greenfield Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Performance Index, Namibia was ranked first in Africa in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2022. The GDP growth of 7.2% in the third quarter should give all of us hope and optimism for a future of shared prosperity.

Three years ago, Green Hydrogen was just a topic of conversation. Today, it is a reality. Institutions and policies are in place. We are deliberate in using the interest in Green Hydrogen to stimulate other sectors of our economy and new adjacent industries, including logistics, agriculture and sustainable manufacturing. Namibia’s efforts to develop green maritime corridors and to cultivate giant kelp forests, including the production of hot briquetted iron are but a few examples of adjacent industries that will benefit from our concerted efforts to ensure that Namibia becomes a hub of clean energy and green industries.

As we look to 2024 and beyond, it is clear that we are entering a year that promises the delivery of tangible outcomes that have been carefully curated throughout 2023. In 2024, we expect the announcement of concrete outcomes from the intensive offshore drilling of oil. Several uranium mines will re- commence operations. At least 3 pilot projects in the green hydrogen space should conclude construction activities. The Walvis Bay container terminal concession should become effective, paving the way for increased investment and container traffic for this strategic logistics corridor.

On the international front, consistent with our values of peace and justice, we made our contributions towards a peaceful and prosperous region as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. I will Co-Chair with the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz the 2024 United Nations Summit for the Future, which represents a pivotal moment for the future of humanity in navigating the challenges of climate change, conflicts and the technological revolution.

No peace-loving human being can ignore the carnage that is waged against Palestinians in Gaza. The war in Gaza is telling us that there are two types of human beings, those who can be killed like a dog and those who are holy.

Fellow Namibians,

The successes we have witnessed in the Year of Revival are solidified by our unity, peace and stability. Our commitment to hold hands has been a motive force in overcoming the multiple crises we went through over the past years of economic downturns, droughts and the Covid-19 pandemic. We have now turned the tide and the Namibian House is in much better shape.

We have to look forward in our march towards shared prosperity. We are at the dawn of a New Year. With each New Year, the promise of better opportunities is inevitable. With each New Year, we develop bigger expectations and ambitions. In order to seize the opportunities that are in line with our ambitions and expectations, we should redouble our efforts to make Namibia a better country. I call on each one of you to work harder for our collective welfare. I call on all of you to hold hands and to ensure that no one feels left out of the Namibian House.

With these words, on the eve of the year 2024, the Year of Expectations; the Year of Elections, it will be a new beginning for the Namibian House. Therefore, I extend my best wishes for the new year to all of you.

Happy New Year!
Long Live the Republic of Namibia!

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