NID - Call for Private Sector and Govt Investment in Local NGOs
AARON BUCKLEY | Namibia is a nation teeming with opportunities. Everywhere you look, people are hungry for success.
A country built on free market principles, with a people questing for equal economic participation in its development. Namibia has many commonly known successes; it re mains one of the only countries in the world with a robust environmental policy enshrined in its constitution combined with a strong governmental investment that could lead to a direct betterment for all citizens.
Yet, the reality for many Namibians remains far from a success, as the second most unequal country in the world. This inequality has the potential to strangle a nation with people yearning for access to economic succession, fair play and the opportunity to enjoy the nation's potential.
The organisations that work tirelessly to offset the consequences of this development - those that work in human rights, education, health and housing - feel the brunt of these problems as much as the people they aim to assist. Being solely reliant on foreign aid to function leaves them dependent on foreign prerogatives and whims.
Reliance on foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is unstable and inadequate for Namibia's needs, especially since the World Bank considers the country an upper-middle income country. Many donor nations now deem Namibia ineligible to receive donor aid, as many Nordic countries have already left, such as Sweden.
It must become a domestic responsibility of Namibia's private sector and government to step in and fill the void left by foreign organisations. Namibia should take steps to join the rest of the upper-middle-income countries in prioritising and accommodating philanthropy into its economic structure to ensure the betterment of all.
Prioritising philanthropic investments into NGOs could and should be furthered based on the already existing Corporate Social Investment (CSI) that many of the country's financial institutions contribute to.
However, civil rights organisations like the Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID) find themselves struggling to access local dollars from both the government and the private sector.
The private sector and government could take it upon themselves to turn NGOs into solely domestic-focused initiatives, solely focused on the needs of Namibians: all it requires is political willpower and monetary support as a form of investment.
An investment is the same way that one entrusts a prospective company based on values, profit opportunity or risk appetite. But, in the case of these NGOs, instead of focusing on profit, investors should be concerned with the impact on the lives of thousands of Namibians.
As a reward, the government could set tax breaks or incentives in order to encourage participation from businesses to invest in non-governmental organisations. The betterment and development of Namibia will take all of us - NGOs, the private sector and the government, all working in tandem to achieve Vision 2030 and a more equally prosperous nation.
* Aaron Buckley is a research consultant at the Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID)
The Namibian. 2022. Call for Private Sector and Govt Investment in Local NGOs: <https://www.civic264.org.na/images/pdf/2022/10/NID_A_Call_for_Private_Sector_and_Govt_Investment_in_Local_NGOs_AB.pdf>
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