Namibia’s battle with inflation has been a roller coaster ride over the past two decades, with rising prices of food, housing, and transport impacting lower-income households disproportionately.
In short, inflation is the sustained increase in the general price of goods and services over a period of time.
It means the buying power of a unit of currency declines as prices increase.
In January, inflation in Namibia rose to 7%, up from 6,9% in December 2022, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency.
Inflation can have severe consequences, including reduced buying power, decreased competitiveness of exports, and increased uncertainty for businesses and investors.
Our policymakers are taking steps to address the issue, including considering inflation targeting and increasing transparency around monetary policy decisions.
However, structural factors such as limited domestic production and high import costs for food, a shortage of affordable housing and rising fuel prices pose additional challenges.
In the early 2000s, Namibia experienced rampant inflation rates, peaking at 13,7% in 2002.
Urgent action was needed to prevent it from spiralling out of control. In response, the government implemented a series of reforms to tackle the root causes of inflation.
It included fiscal consolidation and structural adjustments aimed at improving the efficiency of the economy and reducing reliance on government spending.
These efforts were largely successful, and inflation rates fell to single digits in the following years.
However, it is clear inflation will continue to be a significant factor in shaping the country’s economic trajectory.
For its part, the Bank of Namibia has implemented monetary policy measures such as adjusting interest rates and tightening liquidity.
However, these efforts must be balanced against the need to support economic growth and development.
The Bank of Namibia also uses inflation targeting as a key tool.
Inflation targeting is a monetary policy framework in which a central bank sets a specific target for inflation and adjusts its policies to achieve and maintain that target.
The Bank of Namibia aims to keep inflation within a target range of 3-6% and adjusts its monetary policy decisions accordingly.
While inflation targeting can be a useful strategy, it is not a silver bullet.
In the long run, factors such as structural reforms to boost domestic production capacity and reduce reliance on imports are also important.
Further, inflation targeting may not be effective if the economy faces external shocks such as global supply chain disruptions or fluctuations in commodity prices.
Therefore, a holistic approach that includes a range of policy tools and measures is necessary.
Further, inflation targeting is not a one-size-fits-all solution and may not be suitable for all countries.
Each country’s economic circumstances and institutional capacities are unique, and the effectiveness of inflation targeting depends on a variety of factors.
Given Namibia’s persistent inflation challenges, it may be worth considering an inflation targeting regime to manage inflation and promote economic stability.
This requires strong institutional capacity and political commitment.
Moreover, transparency and communication around monetary policy decisions can help build credibility with investors and the public and reduce uncertainty about future economic conditions.
The government could also take steps to address structural factors that contribute to inflation.
For instance, high food prices in Namibia are driven in part by limited domestic production and high import costs.
The government could encourage investment in agriculture and support local farmers to increase domestic food production, which could help reduce reliance on expensive imports.
Similarly, structural factors contribute to inflation in the housing market.
We could consider policies to increase the supply of affordable housing, such as incentives for developers to build low-cost housing units or working with the private sector to finance affordable housing projects.
Another important factor is the cost of transport.
To address this, the government could consider policies that reduce reliance on imported fuel and promote the use of alternative energy sources such as renewable energy, and investing in public transportation.
Despite Namibia’s past advances in lowering inflation, there is still a need to maintain control and promote sustainable economic growth.
Adopting effective strategies from other countries and implementing bold measures to tackle structural issues can only help give impetus to our quest for a more prosperous future.
- Belinda Mthombeni (22) is an accounting student and youth leader, and an economics and finance enthusiast.
As long as the N $ is pegged to the ever devaluating SA RAND NAMIBIA will NOT beat inflation and your citizens standard of living will reduce while every citizens WEALTH will erode by the % of 30 for the past short years LEARN from BOTSWANA # 13 3 on the U S $ THEY are Doing pritty well YOU ARE SITTING ON A SINKING BOAT !!!