New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / US foundation eyes development opportunities

US foundation eyes development opportunities

2022-06-09  Maihapa Ndjavera

US foundation eyes development opportunities

The United States African Development Foundation aims to invest in Namibian youth and women, specifically through vocational training for job creation in the sphere of agriculture and to develop small and medium enterprises.  

“We would love to develop partnerships at regional and national government level to invest in initiatives that will support underserved Namibians. One of the models I use at the foundation is that our work starts where the paved road stops,” explained Travis Adkins, CEO and president of United States African Development Foundation (USADF) on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to President Hage Geingob at State House.

USADF is an independent US government agency established to invest directly in African grassroots enterprises and social entrepreneurs. USADF’s investments increase income, revenue, and jobs by promoting self-reliance and market-based solutions to poverty. The foundation creates pathways to prosperity for marginalised populations and underserved communities.

Adkins emphasised that USADF’s weapon to fight youth unemployment is skilling, reskilling and upskilling through vocational education. According to him, the kind of training the foundation envisages is split equally between both genders. 

“We would also have employers that we will sign memorandum of understandings to then guarantee they will hire graduates from those programmes. The employers to sign MOUs will be within Namibia,” said Adkins.

Another way to fight poverty and hunger, he said, is to support local entrepreneurs. In this regard, the foundation will look into what kind of skills, input equipment or support and loans Namibian entrepreneurs need to graduate their SMEs to corporates. 

Adkins noted that during his visit to Namibia, he had plenty of discussions relating to agriculture, especially irrigation as means of increasing production as well as to provide additional jobs for women and youth. 

“We have a sense of urgency in all we do and many that we met in Namibia are showing the same interest,” he said.

At the same occasion, trade minister Lucia Iipumbu said in ensuring Namibian products reach European markets, the country must ensure compliance demanded by global markets.

“Namibia has developed standards, as we know some of the standards we do not have as a country, so we domesticate them from the international perspective especially for the cosmetic industry. That’s what we have done. That ended us with an opportunity to be able to export our products in the European and American markets,” Iipumbu explained.

She noted Namibia will now focus on cultural artefacts and cultural exchange programmes with the US among others. Slowly but surely, she said the country is making a breakthrough in vibrant markets.

Seeking opportunities in the US markets, Iipumbu stated, Namibia will still push for more products through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Utilisation Strategy. The strategy, which was launched last year, seeks to increase Namibia’s exports under the AGOA programme. This will allow Namibia to export over 6 400 products tariff-free to the United States. This joint effort to develop the AGOA strategy is part of the United States’ efforts to expand mutually beneficial trade with Namibia.

“Dates and grapes have been already certified and they qualify to access the global markets. The realisation of bar codes in Namibia serves as the readiness to access international markets,” the minister pointed out. 

Iipumbu mentioned the outbreak of Covid-19 made it clear that Namibia needs to build a strong pharmaceutical industry. She added the country wants to find opportunities in producing more pharmaceutical products locally.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told the visiting delegation that Namibia managed to achieve good governance, which increases investment opportunities in the country. According to her, the country is challenged with the unequally sharing of wealth, leading to increased inequality among other challenges. 

The PM said the country wishes young people to participate in emerging industries such as the green hydrogen and oil discoveries, thus Namibia aims to improve its labour and education systems to make sure it captures envisaged labour demand in the coming years. –

2022-06-09  Maihapa Ndjavera

Share on social media