Our country is going through a period of transition following one of the most challenging periods. Covid-19 really put us on the back foot. Globally, every nation had to deal with the socio-economic fallout from this terrible pandemic. Namibia is, thankfully, seeing the first shoots of recovery as an economy, which is very positive news.
This cautious recovery is attributable to the resilience of us as Namibians across every level of society and in every region. We are survivors, and we persevere. Our strong institutions are another reason we as a nation have been able to pick ourselves up and move forward after the severe economic knocks we took while at the same time dealing with a social and health emergency.
The United Nations has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), with number 16 focusing on peace, justice, and strong institutions. Africa’s Agenda 2063 has seven aspirational points, and its third aspiration focuses on; An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice, and the rule of law. There is a good reason why this development goal has been included in the UN SDGs and Agenda 2063’s third aspiration, which focuses on good governance. Without strong institutions, the rule of law, peace, and good governance, Namibia would not be in its present position.
Every nation demands a lot from its institutions; they need to be robust, resilient, and most importantly, there for its inhabitants. Therefore, our ministries, SOEs, and local and regional governments need to be high performing organisations (HPO).
There are many definitions of HPOs, that pertain to for-profit companies, where one definition is: “A high-performance organisation gets better results than competitors through innovation and sales. Its business leaders are forward-thinking and constantly seek to improve their innovation strategy.”
I strongly believe that the same rules can, should and need to be applied to governmental institutions. Although the government does not pursue profit, we are constantly looking to ‘upgrade’ and improve the lives of every Namibian, something we have been doing consistently for more than 33 years as the government.
The pandemic underlined the importance of HPO institutions; we would not have been able to implement emergency initiatives, offer financial assistance to those that needed it most, or build mobile health facilities as and when required.
Over many years, our government has put mechanisms in place so that our ministries can quickly and efficiently change their operating structure and practices to meet needs, just as was necessary during the pandemic. Our organisations focus on long-term success while delivering actionable short-term goals. We have created flexible, citizen-focused organizations, and our highly effective teams deliver results for all Namibians.
As we nurture the seeds of recovery, having HPOs in place has become even more essential as Namibia is on the cusp of an oil and green hydrogen gas boom. Namibia is well positioned to avoid the ‘resource curse’ that befell other nations. Not only can our country embrace best practices, but everything ranging from our constitution to our esteemed institutes and our deep-rooted need to care for and protect our fragile environment and ecosystem means that we can prosper as a nation from oil and gas.
Every aspect of society will be touched and transformed. Education, technology, infrastructure, healthcare, manufacturing, and climate mitigation activities will all benefit from the potential oil and hydrogen gas investments through companies like Shell and Hyphen Energy. A bright and reassuring, and positive prospect for our nation and with our HPOs, the checks and balances are already in place to ensure every Namibian will benefit. We will become a high performing nation as Namibia.
*Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is the Prime Minister of Namibia