The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma, has pleaded for support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for employment creation. He made this plea during the 110th International Labour Conference in Geneva.
Nujoma said assistance by ILO would help Namibia to make a tangible impact in employment creation, which may bring hope to the youth. The support, he further said, would orient the nation in the direction of putting employment at the centre of its development.
Namibia’s development has been severely constrained by structural unemployment. However, strategies for socio and economic development with some significant progress, including in the areas of education, social protection and infrastructural development have been implemented, but the area of employment creation continued being a challenge.
The minister noted that although all important high statements highlight the need to create employment, a concern remains, as planning to maximise employment is not embedded in most initiatives. There has been a challenge in overcoming the silos that separate the key ministries and institutions that need to work together to put employment at the centre of socio-economic development. Currently, the labour ministry is working with the ILO on the review and revision of the National Employment Policy and its implementation plan.
Nujoma noted he is hopeful that the policy will be instrumental if the ILO includes Namibia as a pathfinder country in the Global Accelerator Initiative.
“This is due to the fact that Namibia has an extremely high rate of unemployment, particularly among youth. It is for this reason, among others that the minister has declared the country’s interest to be considered as a pathfinder in the Global Accelerator Initiative,” read a statement from Lydia Indombo, acting executive director of the ministry.
The global accelerator is an initiative by the United Nations and ILO that aims to help ensure global financing to create jobs and extend social protection to people currently without coverage.
Namibia, like many other African countries, has more people under the age of 18 than many other countries around the world. This youth population is projected to double by 2050, which will place more and more stress on already strained economic resources.
To secure demographic dividends from this exponentially expanding population of youth, Namibia last week launched its labour market assessment report.
“Namibia is striving to meet national and international goals toward poverty alleviation and aims to specifically address youth unemployment through effective governance and prioritisation of socio-economic concerns,” said youth minister Agnes Tjongarero, last week at the launch of a Labour Market Assessment Report.
At the same event, deputy youth minister Emma Kantema-Gaomas noted the labour market assessment report is a vital tool to inform response measures and strategies outlined in the National Youth Policy pillars, namely youth education and skills development, youth health and wellbeing and youth employment and economic empowerment.
According to the 2018 labour force survey, Namibia’s unemployment rate stood at 33.4% with a youth unemployment rate of 46.1%, of which men accounted for 43.7% and females for a staggering 48.5%.