WINDHOEK: President Hifikepunye Pohamba expressed concern about the state of the socio-economic situation in southern Africa.
He was speaking at the Socialist International Presidium that took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States of America earlier this week.
“Let us join hands in solidarity and work together to address the socio-economic challenges facing our people. Let us work even harder to achieve greater economic and social justice for our people,” he urged.
Pohamba noted that those are the enduring values that have held them together as members of the Socialist International for years, and will certainly continue to serve them well in the future.
The Socialist International is the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties. It currently brings together 161 political parties and organisations from all continents.
Pohamba further said that the Presidium, which is the highest deliberative organ of the Socialist International, has created an opportunity for the leaders to exchange views on the social and economic issues affecting humanity today.
“These issues on our agenda demand urgent attention, particularly in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis, which has had a devastating effect on our people,” he noted.
The Namibian Head of State continued that the situation demands that progressive governments put in place policy priorities aimed at reversing the existing threats to international peace and security, governance, economic and social development.
“These challenges demand of us to put in place innovative policies aimed at increasing economic growth and allow fair distribution of resources to our citizens, and thus make positive changes in their lives,” he said.
Pohamba advised the gathering that among the actions needed to be taken included deliberate interventions aimed at ensuring economic and social justice, and enabling the majority of the people to gain access to productive resources in a fair and sustainable manner.
“We should also ensure that our young people have access to education and training opportunities that equip them with practical knowledge and skills to become productive members of our society,” he said.
Pohamba further said that countries, particularly in southern Africa, continue to grapple with serious challenges posed by weak economies, unemployment and poverty.
These adverse conditions manifested themselves in the form of poor health conditions, lack of proper housing and sanitation, inadequate access to quality education and other social services.
“Salaries for our workers have stagnated as a result of sluggish economic growth and high costs of living. This in turn has eroded their capacity to take care of their families.
It has, therefore, become common to experience strikes and general labour unrest in many of the African countries,” said the Namibian leader.
Pohamba and his delegation are expected to arrive back home on Saturday.