A leading private sector development specialist from the World Bank, Ganesh Rasagam, said creating jobs for youth is the main challenge in southern Africa. According to him, the capacity of the public sector to create jobs reached its limits so new jobs have to come from the private sector, especially in emerging sectors, digital transformation and green businesses.
Namibia, with one of the youngest populations in Africa, is no exception, as youth unemployment rate was expected to reach a staggering 50.30% by the end of 2021.
The figure was stated last year by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative Sheila Roseau, during the launch of the third National Youth Policy.
The 2018 National Labour Force Survey results point to an increased need to address youth unemployment, which is estimated to have increased from 43% in 2016 to 46% by 2018. The most recent figures from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) indicate the country’s overall unemployment rate dropped slightly from 34% in 2016 to 33.4% in 2018.
Rasagam made the remarks on Tuesday during the launch of the Innovation Bridge Portal (IBP) by the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) in partnership with the World Bank Group and Startup Namibia as they partner to optimise Namibia’s entrepreneurship ecosystem through the portal.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship will be the drivers of new growth and jobs in the private sector. The main idea is how can we provide support to entrepreneurs in a more structured, coordinated and integrated manner where entrepreneurs feel they can get the right support at the right time in the business cycle,” he explained.
The specialist is of the view there are opportunities to learn from each other and strengthen the collaboration
with the five countries, namely,
Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana and eSwatini so that entrepreneurs can access resources in other countries. The mentioned countries are all in use of IBP.
The objective of IBP is to give entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn different elements at the core of their business development, digitally. The programme offers registered applicants in each country a licence to develop their business and ideas by learning through Thinkubate, an incubator as a software (IAAS) learner management system (LMS) that is powered by
At the same occasion, Grace Legodi, a consultant at the World Bank noted they strive to bring ecosystems together: “We should leverage each other’s competitive advantage as entrepreneurs in terms of market access and exposure to investors who have appetite in southern Africa.”
She said the community is intent on being the ultimate catalyst in providing an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive, thus promoting economic growth and job creation.
Pillars on the digital platform are start-ups, investors, business service providers and innovators.