By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “Namibia faces a skills gap in various sectors of the economy, hence the implementation of programmes like ETSIP and institutions such as the Namibia Training Authority.” So said Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, on Tuesday evening at the official launch of Management Express, a trademark programme of the British Council to assist Namibian business people. The project is aimed at sharing experiences and expertise within the business sector. “The objectives of these government initiatives are to ensure that the education sector addresses the development of skills relevant to the needs of the nation. The growth of the need for skills comes with the challenge to provide cutting-edge personal and professional development opportunities,” said Ndjoze-Ojo. According to her, Management Express offers more for a manager than just having his or her eyes on something beyond academic capabilities. “It provides for network opportunities to share professional best practices and information and experiences across cultures, languages, countries and continents. Through this project, business managers should come away more enriched in ways that transcend the professional and that promote personal development. Young professionals would be transformed and equipped to contribute actively to the country’s quest for recognition on the global economic stage,” she said. Ndjoze-Ojo said the establishment of Management Express fills her with a great sense of hope for the future of the country. The British High Commissioner to Namibia, Alasdair MacDermott, at the same occasion expressed his government’s support for the project. “It is essential that we support Namibian structures and initiatives instead of replacing them with our own structures. We need to help and add values to projects like this one to help develop the local skills base, particularly in management development. Money and resources are not the answer, skills transfer is,” MacDermott said. In his view, aid dependency must be reduced to achieve genuine independence and not further dependence. “I believe this Management Express programme is a clear demonstration of the British Council’s continuing commitment to meeting young Namibians’ professional and personal development aspirations,” he concluded.