Growth, employment and decent work in Namibia: A situation analysis

Employment Working Paper No. 81

During the past three decades, development thinking has been dominated by a genre of economics that emphasizes the attainment of macroeconomic stability, believing that once this is achieved, the social goals of employment creation and poverty reduction would automatically fall into place. The macroeconomic framework has been narrowly interpreted to mean ‘minimize fiscal deficits, minimize inflation, minimize tariffs, maximize privatization, and maximize liberalization of finance.’ However, in spite of having implemented significant policy reforms along these lines, economies of Sub-Saharan Africa failed to take off, with few success stories. Critically, such one-size-fits-all formulaic blueprints confused means (macroeconomic stability) for ends (decent work and poverty reduction). The emerging consensus is that economic growth does not automatically result in poverty reduction - it only does so when accompanied by rapid growth of productive, decent and remunerative employment. In response to this development, decent work and poverty reduction have assumed greater importance and focus in the new millennium.