epa04152345 Namibia's Prime Minister Hage Geingob leaves the fourth EU-Africa Summit of Heads of States at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 03 April 2014. Leaders from Africa and the United Nations called for the fight against climate change to be stepped up, as a summit in Brussels on issues affecting the continent drew to a close. The summit also focussed on trade, aid and illegal migration from Africa into Europe. A total of 59 heads of state or government from the EU and Africa took part in the summit. EPA/Stephanie Lecocq

Namibia has scrapped a requirement for companies seeking mining exploration licences to be partly owned and/or managed by black Namibians, is this a step in the right direction?

In 2015, a law was passed in Namibia which required companies seeking licenses to explore the vast mining sites in the country to have a minimum 20 percent representation of black Namibians either as owners, partners or managers.

The regulation also states that at least 5 percent of the company should be owned by Namibians before they can be granted full access to the countries Diamond and Uranium deposits.

This doesn’t sound bad, does it?

The regulation was aimed at increasing the participation of historically disadvantaged black Namibians in some of the country’s most lucrative business projects, especially mining which contributed 12.2 percent to the country’s GDP in 2017.

The Namibian Chamber of Mines which released the statement on the scrapped regulation said it was the “most important fundamental decision for future investment into Namibia” – how true?

It is sad that Namibia which has sighted DR Congo as one of the countries that have ‘benefited’ from open policies that allow foreign investors to explore mining opportunities in the country have not taken the time to find out the disadvantages of the actions.

It is only a matter of time before foreign corporations will invade Namibia in their numbers to exploit the country and take over all her mining sites. If a country’s resources are controlled by foreigners, how can such a country be free?

This indeed is an open invitation to colonialism all over again.

The government claims to be acting on what it believes to be in the best interest of the people but is this really true?

The Namibian Chamber of Mines have always hammered on the fact that critics say the 2015 regulation has failed to redress inequalities; but rather, it has benefited only a few wealthy Namibians – who are these critics? The foreign investors who rather keep away than have Namibians in their management teams or the Namibians themselves?

Speaking earlier on the plan to scrap the regulation, Namibian president, Hage Geingob had said; “The role of government is to create a conducive business environment where owners, whether black or white, who can afford risk capital, can participate in equity transactions under NEEEF.”

We only hope that this doesn’t turn out to be a step in the wrong direction that would further put the Namibia people at a disadvantage.

God bless Namibia.

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