Towards wellbeing indicators in Africa: A Case Study from Namibia

Progress Namibia - Towards wellbeing indicators in Africa: A Case Study from Namibia
22 May 2017

Some of the work from our project 'For Progress Namibia' has been published in the leading popular academic journal Solutions. With the upcoming meeting of the Wellbeing Economy Africa Lab taking place next in Nairobi, which we will be attending to discuss radical economic transformation, we thought it prudent to share the article with you.

The current world view is that economic growth is synonymous with human wellbeing and prosperity. This growth is measured using Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And for many years, the world has been following this path without questioning it. But this path, in fact, has led to some significant challenges.

In the past 100 years or so, humanity has become more and more divided from the ecological, social and spiritual spheres that are needed for survival, creativity and happiness. This separation from ecology is causing life support systems to be destroyed. In fact, the development paradigm is driving core planetary boundaries (the safe operating space for humanity to exist) into a new state, one that is not conducive to human life or development. Enormous challenges are arising, including water scarcity, food scarcity, soil losses and air pollution, among many others. These problems will only be further exacerbated by climate change. In Namibia populations experiences water crisis in the capital city of Windhoek; drought, and flooding, all within a few months of one another.

The social system is corroded. Global inequality has reached extremes, to the extent that one percent of the global human population has more wealth than the rest of the world combined. Wars, gender violence, human slavery, and social disruptions and disconnections are all a product of the current value system. Namibia is no different, with 10 percent owning more than half the country's wealth, and social issues like gender violence reaching extreme highs.

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Image Credit: Le Roux van Schalkwyk, Shandumbala community meeting, 2016