Access to information vital in youth unemployment fight

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Access to information vital in youth unemployment fight

Popular Democratic Movement parliamentarian Inna Hengari this week in the National Assembly said there cannot be talks about creating opportunities and injecting a substantial amount of investment into the youth, without speaking about access to information. 

She made these remarks while motivating her motion to address the youth unemployment crisis in Namibia: “Based on the latest statistics, those hit hardest by the unemployment crisis are young people in rural areas where unemployment is rife and unchallenged at 52%.” 

Hengari noted creating opportunities for rural youth is more urgent than ever. She believes making rural life and rural jobs more attractive to youth will require tapping into the potential of agricultural value chains and understanding the opportunities and challenges of food and agriculture systems in the country to build a rural economy. 

“There is a need to address the electrification of villages in rural areas and informal settlements in urban areas (places like Havana, Windhoek), to give young people a real fighting chance at business. Access to information, especially in job seeking is crucial, however, this is hindered by the almost non-existent online platforms for most government offices,” she explained.

Part of the recommendations she called for was for youth to benefit from all government procurement, she stated youth must enjoy priority in government procurement: “Government should ensure that at least 40% of the supply chain procurement is allocated to youth.”

Hengari added more incentives should be provided to the private sector or small and medium enterprises to encourage employers to expand quality internship programmes, and also to review and re-examine existing policies on redistribution of resources.

On why she is calling for the state of emergency on the matter, Hengari noted it is clear that Namibia is dealing with a much higher youth unemployment rate than the estimated 50.3% at the end of 2021, especially given the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact. This, according to her, makes more sense for policymakers to rethink the current models, strategies and interventions.

By the year 2018, there were 876 908 youth aged 15 to 34 in Namibia. The Namibia Labour Force Survey 2018 report indicates that at least 265 770 young people of that number were roaming the streets without a job. 

“These high rates of youth unemployment represent both widespread personal misfortune for individuals and a lost opportunity for critical national and global economic development,” she explained.