Windhoek-Partly in response to the unemployment rate in Khomas Region, which has been reported at 37.5 percent, the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development assisted about 18 entrepreneurs in the region over the past year with production equipment, worth some N$923,900.
The entrepreneurs were assisted in business activities, such as tailoring, auto-mechanic, electrical, welding, bakery, butchery, construction, joinery and carpentry.
This stated by Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua during her State of the Region Address on Tuesday, where she said despite enormous investments into the region, levels of unemployment continue to grow, especially among the youth of working age.
She also revealed that youth unemployment rate had risen by 5.4 percent since 2014 (when it stood at 32.1 percent) to 37.5 percent in 2016.
She also revealed another 11 entrepreneurs were assisted financially to undergo basic business and financial management training in order to enhance their business operations. The Khomas governor said the training was facilitated in collaboration with Khomas Regional Council at a cost of N$84,000.
Equally, she noted that one emerging entrepreneur was assisted financially to assess the viability of establishment of bio coal manufacturing plant.
McLeod-Katjirua said the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development sustained its commitment to contribute to the development of the Khomas Region and has created a number of programmes, which support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and informal entrepreneurs to address various challenges (including the lack of skills) facing them and a number of entrepreneurs in the region have benefited significantly from these programmes.
Several farmers were also capacitated through training and ongoing support visits by extension services under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. During the year 2016, she said, 75 farmers received training in various agricultural subjects, such as animal health, farm recordkeeping, rangeland management and horticulture production in the region.
In addition, she said, a total of 2,000 farmers visited agricultural offices in Khomas Region and were supported in farm planning, maps, farm valuation and land subdivision, etc.
Regarding poultry distribution programme, she said a total of 16 households in Khomas were supported with the procurement process of 750-day old chicks between the month of July to September last year alone.
Additionally, the governor stated the region successfully conducted a resettlement farmer competition where 26 farmers participated. According to her, the competition includes the evaluation of resettlement farms on best practices, aimed at identifying farming challenges for future interventions and motivation through prize awards.
Further, she said several community gardens in Windhoek and backyard gardens were realised and support was also rendered to the Robben Island Political Prisoners Project at Ongombo West, Windhoek Rural Constituency in terms of training and links to retail marketing chains.
She announced that water supply projects were also realised in Moses //Garoëb Constituency to the tune of N$159,476 for provision of water points to the informal settlements to provide clean, potable and safe drinking water and reduce the distance from existing water points in Havana areas.
In Kabila B, and Cuba and Robben Island standpipes were installed. She said Penduka Trust in Samora Machel Constituency was supported with an amount of N$100,784 for the completion of aquaponics project with a shade net greenhouse and training equipment for the trust.
Such funding helped secure chairs and tables, fabric and IT equipment, placemats and body fabric, Wi-Fi and IT connectivity instruments, conduit and waterline work, and the installation of electrical equipment, including labour and materials for the greenhouse.
However, she said there were also serious challenges and constraints, such as support to household gardening around the city, which was restricted by low levels of water in the region and thus the City of Windhoek instituted restrictions on water use.
Another challenge she mentioned was the recurrence of drought conditions, which contributed to inadequate availability of pastures and underground water in farms.