WINDHOEK – As the country struggles with a relatively high unemployment rate and especially among the youth, unemployed graduates have turned to doing online business as a means of survival.
Unemployed youth who spoke to Youth Corner said they were forced to venture into business online because they were unemployed, despite having obtained qualifications at tertiary institutions.
According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey conducted in 2016, unemployment among the youth aged 15 to 34 is at 43.4 percent.
“Since I graduated, I have been looking for a job and I couldn’t find one, so online business was the only thing I could do to make a living,” said Ndapandula Mwanyekange, a bachelor of science graduate from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. She is the proud owner of an online store ‘Todia Accessories and Imports’. She buys clothes from China and sells them in Namibia and makes more money than she initially expected, she said.
Despite searching for formal employment, Mwanyekange says she does not blame the government for not providing enough jobs for graduates. She believes that there is so much that unemployed graduates can do in order to make money for a living, even if it’s not in their field of study.
Paulina Haupindi sought employment in her field of study for two years but to no avail. However, when she failed to secure a job, she also started to buy clothes abroad and sell them locally. She said her clothing online boutique is doing relatively well.
Haupindi, who is currently working at a cellphone repair centre while still hunting for her dream job, said unemployed youth should consider online businesses because they “are somehow their own bosses”.
“When we talk about unemployment, it is real and I want to urge the youth to not be picky when it comes to jobs, especially when they have no choice. A lot of people are not doing anything because they believe they cannot settle for a low paying job with their qualifications,” said Haupindi.
Even though business is booming for some unemployed youth, others are not so convinced. Leevi Nkandi, a graduate of the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre said unemployment made him a victim of an online pyramid scheme scam and he ended up losing his hard earned cash.
“When someone is unemployed and they are trying hard to make ends meet, they take up any opportunity that comes, as long as there is money involved. I was approached by a woman on social media who told me to invest N$10 000 in a certain pyramid scheme and she promised that I will get N$100 000 in a few days. Since I was very desperate to make money and I am unemployed, I didn’t think twice. I borrowed that amount from my family members and invested, just to notice that it was a scam after investing,” he said sadly.
Nkandi said unemployed youth should not have the mentality of “always” waiting for the government to provide employment. “They must also find ways to create employment for themselves and others,” he commented.
Naemi Simon graduated with an honours degree in accounting at the International University of Management in 2014 and failed to get a job. Three years later, she joined the foreign exchange market (global decentralised market for the trading of currencies). She said this was one of the best choices she made because even though she is still formally unemployed, she is making a good living out of her business.