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Opinion - The impact of youth unemployment on Namibia's economy

2024-04-03  Correspondent

Opinion - The impact of youth unemployment on Namibia's economy

Eli Maswahu

Namibia stands at a crossroads, grappling with the pervasive issue of youth unemployment. As of 2023, the youth unemployment rate soared to a staggering 46.1% (Namibia Statistics Agency, 2023). These figures reveal not just numbers, but the profound human toll and economic consequences of this pressing challenge.

For Namibia’s youth, unemployment is not merely a statistic, but a harsh reality. It breeds disillusionment, erodes self-esteem and dims the prospects of a promising future. The inability to contribute financially strains families and fractures communities, perpetuating a cycle of despair and deprivation.

Yet, the impact extends far beyond individual lives. It robs the nation of its most valuable asset—its youth. With a significant portion of the population sidelined from the workforce, Namibia squanders the potential for innovation, creativity and productivity that young minds offer. This loss of human capital stifles economic growth, and hampers the nation’s ability to compete on the global stage.

The economic repercussions reverberate across society. Social tensions rise, crime surges and public safety hangs in the balance. The government shoulders the burden of providing welfare services and quelling unrest, diverting resources from vital development initiatives.

In the long term, the spectre of youth unemployment looms ominously over Namibia’s future. A disillusioned generation may seek opportunities abroad, draining the country of its brightest talents. The exodus exacerbates brain drain and stifles the innovation needed for sustainable growth.

Addressing youth unemployment demands more than just policy reform—it requires a societal shift. It necessitates investment in education, skills development and entrepreneurship. It calls for collaboration between government, the private sector and civil society to create an environment ripe for job-creation and economic prosperity.

Namibia stands at a critical juncture, where the fate of its youth intertwines with the trajectory of its economy. By unlocking the potential of its young population, Namibia can chart a course towards a brighter, more inclusive future.

*Eli Maswahu is a legal intern at the Ministry of Justice. His interest lies in negotiation, law and youth empowerment. The views expressed herein are his.

2024-04-03  Correspondent

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