In 2020, the unemployment rate in Namibia amounted to approximately 33.4%.
The unemployment rate has drastically increased because of the financial and economic crisis.
Youth unemployment has a negative effect on the individual and the family, but also on the broader community in the form of serious economic and social consequences. This includes economic welfare, production, and erosion of human capital, social exclusion, crime and social instability.
Most societies regard employment as one of the most important aspects of a productive citizen. From a young age, children are asked: What would you like to become one day? Implying: What kind of work would you like to do?
Likewise, if we meet an adult, the question will be: What do you do? The answer to this question offers instant clues to income, social status and lifestyle.
The rise in educated unemployment in Namibian is definitely a big concern, as young people are starting to view education useless and not important.
Today, youth has an unimagined future due to the lack of employment, which means their future dreams are consumed with a desire to survive today.
Unemployment puts mental health at risk beyond reasonable doubt, as most unemployed people tend to show a constant decrease in overall life satisfaction, general well-being and self-esteem, and symptoms of depression, especially if they are unemployed for a long period.
We have seen an increase in suicide cases, a harsh psychological effect.
Some theorists suggest that a person’s worth is calculated in terms of the money they earn through employment, which serves various social and interpersonal functions and offers people opportunities to satisfy psychological needs.
Employment can provide social contact, friendship and support, as well as opportunities for gaining recognition. Furthermore, employment can help young people enter the adult world.
Through employment, youth can provide for themselves and their families.
A job can engender a sense of purpose and value, and shape a person’s identity and self-esteem.
Although so many Namibians who want to work do not have work, the theological understanding of employment also points to employment as an integral part of being human.
We tend to identify ourselves in terms of being employed and because of the centrality of being able to provide for ourselves and family, employment is more than just a commodity defined by the workplace and distributed by the market rules. Being employed has to do with the existence of people, being part of communal and personal well-being.
In all honesty, today’s youth unemployment rate is an answer to a distant future, which is difficult to envision in the face of the daily social and economic hardships.
In such a context, dreaming of a better tomorrow becomes a luxury and being a responsible citizen, contributing to the country’s welfare, are not really possible.
This further implies that those who transition from youth to adulthood are extended, and youth have to create new forms of transition to make their lives meaningful.