This is one of 38 winning blogs from the 2021 Blog4Dev competition, the World Bank Africa annual writing contest, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. Blog4Dev winners responded to the question: How can young people work with their governments and civil society organisations to respond to the impact of Covid-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system?
The Covid-19 pandemic is a systematic risk that has affected the economies of all countries in the world – and Namibia is no exception. As the pandemic continues, it could also drive a lot of Africans into extreme poverty.
Many Namibians lost their jobs during the lockdown, and only a few got their jobs back after the lockdown was lifted. The majority of Namibians affected by unemployment are the youth. In 2020, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Namibia was at 41% (Statista, 2020).
When there are no opportunities, you do not wait for opportunities. You create them!
Youth must put on their thinking caps to work with the government and civil society organisations to build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system of Namibia.
Namibia’s most sought-after motivational speaker, Sam Shivute, said: “Let’s believe in ourselves; let’s know and believe that we are unlimited – only limited by the concept of limitation that we place in our mind”.
I truly believe we are unlimited beings, and Namibian youth have the potential to rebuild the economy of this country – but everything starts within oneself.
Youth must change their mindsets, believe in themselves, and form a Youth Empowerment Organisation (YEO).
This YEO should partner with civil society organisations like the Namibia Media Trust to help sensitise the youth about their rights in decision-making. Moreover, young people need to make the policymakers acknowledge the fact that “lockdown” should be avoided as an option because it will make it worse and difficult for the economy to recover. A well-designed economic stimulus package could be a good start in this regard.
Furthermore, the YEO could collaborate with civil societies like the African Pathfinder Leaders Initiative to help the youth unleash their full potentials and identify 21st-century opportunities.
For example, many young people have amazing business ideas, but start-up capital always presents a challenge to turn these ideas into viable businesses.
Instead of the government giving loans to young entrepreneurs who lack financial literacy and who do not really have access to markets, the YEO can collaborate with the government to provide financial experts who would serve as mentors to start-ups.
These “business angels” would fund and advise young entrepreneurs, aim to build at least 100 financially stable businesses and create at least 10 000 jobs by 2030.
Furthermore, transparency and a strong work ethic should be the motto of this organisation.
Given that Namibia is no stranger to corruption, well known for the ‘Fishrot’ bribery scandal, corruption is the worst enemy for development, and the duty of the youth is to challenge corruption and fight for equality to close the gap between the rich and the poor.
Loise Ndinelago Shipepe is the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Namibia.
* Launched in 2014 by the World Bank Kenya office, the Blog4Dev competition is an annual writing contest, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development.