Namibia: Good Governance Yields Great Returns

Windhoek, capital of Namibia

I first visited Namibia in late 1999, crossing the Orange River from South Africa and driving a little white Toyota hatchback some 1200 miles north to the Angolan border and back again.

The country’s array of landscapes and ethnicities astonished me. The trip took me to the stark isolation of the sand dunes at Sossusvlei and the lush floodplains of Etosha, and encounters with both semi-nomadic Himba pastoralists and German Lutheran farmers. Throughout the journey, Namibia’s fraught political history was never far from view, whether it be crumbling apartheid-era military bases or memorials to the victims of the Herero Genocide.

For the past decade, the job of presiding over Namibia’s vast diversity has fallen to Hifikepunye Pohamba. He has excelled in the role. Last week, as he prepared to make way for his successor, the soft-spoken former copper miner and independence hero became just the fifth ever recipient of the prestigious Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The award recognizes African leaders who have “lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity.”

Read more: Namibia: Good Governance Yields Great Returns –.