Namibia 17 years into independence – what next?


The Nordic Africa Institute launched Transitions in Namibia: Which Changes for Whom?, edited by Henning Melber, this week. It was well worth battling through the snow to the Helsinki launch. Land as always remains the big issue, and Namibia’s leaders have commended Robert Mugabe’s land grab. But the land reform initiatives to date in Nambia have been disappointing. Inequality remains at its pre-independence high, and employment growth remains low—wages have consequently stagnated. Many of the war veterans have not benefited from independence (a potentially explosive situation as in Zimbabwe). The category of ex-combatants has been extended over time—eventually covering all exiles, whether they fought or not. China now has a big presence (as elsewhere in Africa) not all of it beneficial, argues the book.

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