By Frederick Philander
Due to rapid urbanization, the capital is facing various socio-economic challenges such as poverty and unemployment among the youth.
This was said last week by the CEO of the City of Windhoek, Niilo Taapopi, at a graduation ceremony for young entrepreneurs.
“The City of Windhoek is going through a rapid urbanization process, whereby many people, especially the youth from all over the country, are flocking to the capital in the hope of finding employment and/ or business opportunities,” Taapopi said.
According to him, a study done by the International Labour Office (ILO) shows the youth are three and a half times more likely than adults to be unemployed.
“Over the years, Namibia has experienced a high rate in youth unemployment. About 62% and 55% are unemployed in the age brackets of 15-19 and 20-24 respectively, while the national average stands at 35%.
“About 20 000 youths enter the job market every year competing for roughly 4,000 new jobs. Given the aforementioned, the need for employment creation efforts focusing on youth is therefore undeniable,” he said.
He further said that the City of Windhoek has developed various strategies and mechanisms to address these socio-economic development challenges and to promote public-private /partnership between the youth, stakeholders and the council.
“The development of entrepreneurship and the subsequent long-term benefits of entrepreneurial training are significant to the development of the local economy, in terms of poverty alleviation and employment creation.
“It makes economic sense to invest in the socio-economic development of the youth, who present productive grounds that ensure effective impact, rather than spending a significant amount to rectify the shortage of skills at a later stage.
“It is a fact that the motivation and skills of entrepreneurs plays a major and relevant role in the success of their enterprises,” he said.
The objectives of the youth entrepreneurship development programme:
– Address the relevant factors impacting on the development of entrepreneurship development among the Youth.
– Stimulate entrepreneurial thinking among the youth.
– Provide capacity building and skills development training to start-up young entrepreneurs.
– Identify actions to promote and enable entrepreneurial activities among the youth in order to counteract the high incidence of unemployment and lack of skills among the youth.
“The City of Windhoek, in collaboration with the City of Vantaa, intend to provide opportunities to empower the Namibian youth within the city by introducing pilot workshops in order to enable young people to gain access to opportunities that will enhance their entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and aptitudes so that they will be able to participate in the mainstream of the economy,” he said.
“The City of Windhoek has thus decided to embark on a structured entrepreneurship development programme that would focus on the hosting of targeted skills development workshops that will equip young entrepreneurs with specific and relevant skills in various areas such as information technology, photography, crafts, and cookery etc., combined with effective business management training,” he said.
As part of the smart partnership relations, Nedbank Namibia rose to the occasion and sponsored the training and start-up capital to the tune of N$80 000. This is a pilot project and we believe this partnership will go a long way.
“The City of Windhoek would therefore like to work together with other stakeholders in order to provide a comprehensive development and support programme, that will ensure that a conducive environment, where these entrepreneurs can prosper, is created. “The involvement of the key stakeholders would assist in effectively counteracting the challenges faced by SMEs and will lead to increased awareness and access to programmes/services available to young entrepreneurs,” the CEO concluded.