Namibia's National Planning Commission is charged with Macro Economic Planning of the country, but has limited practical exposure to advanced macroeconomic tools to estimate poverty levels at national, regional and constituency levels. Substantive exchanges with the Stellenbosch University’s Social Policy Centre and the Southern Africa Social Policy Research Insight allowed to further build the Macro economic research and analysis capacity of the Commission’s secretariat. Trainings focused on the practicable application of appropriate techniques for analysing and communicating socio-economic issues. Overall, department has gained hands-on experience in the production of empirically sound and policy relevant socio-economic research, based on the country’s data and is applying these tools for thorough analysis on topics such as Gender Pay Gaps, Enrolments in Early Childhood Development, Youth Unemployment and National Human Development.
In spite of Namibia’s steady progress in improving its socio-economic development over the past years and its classification as an upper middle-income country, the country is still facing wide level of inequalities. Poverty incidence varies greatly between the regions and between rural and urban areas of Namibia. Although no analyses have been undertaken to ascertain regional differences, it is plausible to assume wide variations in the incidence of poverty within the regions. Namibia’s National Planning Commission (NPC), operating within the office of the President, is in charge of planning, prioritizing and directing national development that includes economic planning through effective coordination, monitoring and evaluation. It spearheads the identification of socio-economic development priorities, formulates short-term, medium-term and long-term national development plans, and develops monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. While it was plausible to assume wide variations in the incidence of poverty within the regions, the commission had not undertaken any analysis that could provide detailed data on these regional differences and its staff was lacking the tools to estimate poverty levels at regional and constitutional level.
This was carried out in collaboration with the Stellenbosch University’s Social Policy Centre and the Southern Africa Social Policy Research Insight, and in line with the 2014-2018 Partnership Agreement between the Government of Republic of Namibia and the United Nations. The National Planning Commission (NPC) strengthened the capacities of its national development planners to conduct analysis of the Namibia Index of multiple deprivation and poverty mapping. In 2014/2015 a delegation of the Stellenbosch University and the Southern Africa Social Policy Research Insight, conducted a specialized training of 14 national development advisers from the NPC on the Development of Indexes of Multiple Deprivation. This allowed technical staff at the National Planning Commission of Namibia (NPC) to conduct studies that estimated poverty levels within the regions, specifically at constituency levels, and develop trends analysis based on the 2001 and 2011 Census as well as the 2003/2004 and 2009/2010 Namibia Households Income and Expenditure Data (NHIES). The officials now have skills on how to present the data analysed on maps using StatPlanet. Further, they will also be able to investigate aspects of non-money metric poverty as a prelude to the money-metric work that lies ahead in the country. This will allow them to advise policy makers both at national and regional government levels on how to institutionalize resources allocation that is informed by baseline tools on poverty within different areas. With subsequent training using Stata, NPC Secretariat is now able to provide policy guidance on developmental planning and priority settings to Government using analytical work. The National Planning Commission is still using the tools and methods for analysis and to date, three policy briefs have been produced on the following topics: i) Inside the Gender Pay Gap: What Explains Disparities in Gender Pay In Namibia? ii) Increasing Enrolments in Early Childhood Development (ECD): How Far Have We Come? iii) Namibia’s Untapped Resource: Analysing Youth Unemployment. It is likely that Namibia (NPC) will continue to collaborate with the Stellenbosch University. The technical skills enhanced and capacities improved through this partnership will be applied and utilised in the preparation of the next NHDR.
Supported by: UNDP
Implemented by: Macroeconomic Division, National Planning Commission (NPC), Namibia, contact person Mr Sylvester Mbangu, Chief National Development Advisor