The Namibian Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) is disturbed by a severe skills shortage in Namibia and is keen on ensuring the country develops competitive expertise required by investors.
“Skills are one important aspect that will drive Namibia’s economic growth that is exhausted. Our objective is to create local capacity for the jobs required by investors and addressing the skills shortage in Namibia,” said CEO of the advisory board Nangula Uaandja while presenting the board’s 24-month strategic plan to President Hage Geingob at State House this month.
Uaandja stated her board is ready to coordinate and support initiatives to upskill Namibia and get the country ready for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), thereby ensuring skills are aligned with investment, which seems to be one of the remaining tools Namibia still has at its disposal to revive the domestic economy.
She said NIPDB will facilitate the creation of private sector, specialised skills and increased technical and vocational education and training (TVET) skills in the next 24 months.
Nangula further noted that the board aims to attract specialised skills in the country, including foreigners and Namibians in the diaspora for locals to acquire the necessary skills.
According to her, Namibia is a nation rich in natural resources, which provides a diverse portfolio of investment opportunities to sell to investors, which could provide easier alignment to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and valuable partnerships between the public and private sectors for economic growth.
Furthermore, she noted that Namibia has access to a bigger market through its ratification of the African Free Trade Agreement.
One of the key threats for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), she said, is a slow-moving policy and regulatory environment as well as a risk that current governmental agencies may perceive NIPDB as a threat to their existence, and might resist the realisation and efforts of the board.
Responding to questions from New Era, Windhoek Vocational Training Centre (WVTC) manager Polli Andima said since its establishment, the centre has made great strides in the provision of vocational and technical skills training in Namibia.
Andima noted that WVTC is currently undertaking reforms on their technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems in order to meet the demands of appropriate skilled workforce by aligning training to industry demands.
“We can only improve TVET if it is well designed to the industry demands. Namibia needs to produce high quality and fit-for-purpose skilled workforce for different sectors of our economy,” he stated.
Last week, during a courtesy call at State House by Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) presidential advisor for youth matters, Daisry Mathias noted that Covid-19 has amplified the importance of technology and also how the country is exposed to it.
“The labour force needs to be reskilled and upskilled. We do not want to lose the jobs to artificial intelligence. We want to prepare the young people and those that are in the labour force to be reoriented and repurposed for the fourth industrial revolution in attracting relevant investors into Namibia,” said Mathias.