He stated this at a media briefing held in Windhoek on Wednesday to brief the media on the progress regarding the implementation of the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).
Alweendo said some of the economic and social challenges the country faces are a low economic growth rate and poverty.
“Our growth, although positive, continues to be low compared to the targets that we set ourselves,” he said.
During the past five years, the average real economic growth rate was only 3,7 per cent as opposed to the desired growth of seven per cent required to meet Vision 2030 goals.
“Not only was the growth rate low, but it was also mainly driven by capital-intensive sectors,” he stated.
As a result, Alweendo indicated, the economy was not able to create sufficient employment opportunities for those looking for jobs, especially young people.
“Today, we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the region and indeed in the world,” the NPC Director-General noted.
In addition, Alweendo said, Namibia continues to experience huge disparities that, if not addressed speedily, may spiral out of control.
With a gini-coefficient of 0,6; Namibia remains one of the most unequal societies.
The latest statistics show that 20 per cent of the population owns 80 per cent of the total income generated by the economy in any particular year.
“Although there has been a reduction in the measure of inequality, this is still something we cannot be satisfied with,” he said.
Related to the huge disparity in income is also the incidence of poverty, he stated, adding that although declining, it remains too high for a so called ‘upper middle income country.’
“We are also aware that our education system is still in need of a significant overhaul to ensure that it caters for the needs of a modern and dynamic economy,” Alweendo added.
Among the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that Namibia is not likely to meet by 2015 are those in the areas of health such as reducing the mortality rate which continues to be high, notwithstanding significant investment in the health sector.
There is no doubt that economic development plays a critical role in the society and it affects people’s lives in a profound way, he noted, adding that employment creates wealth that citizens can use to purchase goods and services.
“A proper conception of economic development must therefore embrace the concept of sustainability, where meeting the development needs of the current generation does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own development needs,” Alweendo said.