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Informal sector gets help

2020-08-28  Maihapa Ndjavera

Informal sector gets help
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Maihapa Ndjavera

Beneficiaries from the Olafika programmes have started offering advice to informal traders. According to the beneficiaries, lack of proper documentation is one of the barriers for their businesses to benefit from government initiatives during Covid-19 pandemic. 
A beneficiary of the Olafika programme Hilaria Erastus who owns a driving school in Okahandja urged the government to teach informal traders on the importance of owning and registering their businesses to benefit from government grants. Erastus said she benefited most of her knowledge from the Olafika programme and used it to relate to her driving school. 
The instructor herself said she motivates and advises her clients while teaching them how to drive on the importance of having vital documents for their businesses.
Erastus further said the government is doing enough to assist during this pandemic, “entrepreneurs should do their part in trying to have what is required to benefit from the programmes”.  Festus Malakia, an entrepreneur and founder of the Unique Empowerment and Employment Initiative and also a beneficiary from the Olafika programme said stakeholders in the country should come up with strategies on finding the solutions on how to revive small and medium enterprises (SMEs) amid the pandemic. 
“Informal traders do not benefit from government initiatives because they don’t have proper documentation, and they are mostly left out,” said Malakia. He said during the first state of emergency in March, under his initiative they carried out a research to see how the lockdown has affected informal traders return:“During the first lockdown we researched informal settlement and saw that most of them lost revenue and supply and they are now sitting at home doing nothing because they have no support to restart their businesses.”
In this regard, he said they came up with a campaign that will be hopefully launched at the end of this month. 
The campaign will focus on raising money from the public and this money will be given to entrepreneurs who don’t have funds to restart their businesses.  
Malakia urged fellow entrepreneurs to look for new opportunities as the world is in the time of change, and some informal traders closed because their business models do not catch up with Covid-19. Claudia Gossow, Programme Manager at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) said she believes the campaign will enable SMEs in an informal space not only to adopt new ways of thinking but also to give them the lift that entrepreneurs need. 
Gossow stated that KAS is to introduce a perspective known as a Social Market Economy as a learning module in the online Olafika programme and it will also form part of the soft skills training that is offered to selected SMEs.
According to her, the Social Market Economy is a regulatory framework that was used in Germany to survive after the Second World War.  “As KAS, we are to introduce a Social Market Economy context in Namibia that is unique in the country entrepreneurial space. 
Social Market Economy perspective focuses on free and fair competition combined with social balance. In other words, we combine the freedom in the market with social equality. SME highlights the idea that the entrepreneur bears the responsibility for himself, his business and to make the difference in the community,” explained Gossow. –

2020-08-28  Maihapa Ndjavera

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