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Youth participation in economy vital

2022-09-08  Paheja Siririka

Youth participation in economy vital

Deputy youth minister Emma Kantema-Gaomas says Africa’s foremost resource is its youth, and Namibia is particularly not lacking in that regard as the majority of the population consists of young people.

There is thus a dire need for them to participate in economic activities.

She said this at the stakeholders’ engagement session on YouthConnekt, a pan-African platform with the vision of connecting African youth for socio-economic transformation. The platform seeks to empower young people by enhancing their knowledge, experiences and skills while investing in their ideas, innovations and initiatives.

The engagement session took place in the capital this week.

Kantema-Gaomas noted: “There is an urgency fot the participation of youth at the top end of our economy. Thus, we have put together several policy interventions geared towards bringing youth into the mainstream of the economy to enhance inclusion and cohesion.”

YouthConnekt Namibia aims to reach all youth in the country by involving them in the current African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) affairs, particularly women and youth, in international trade and entrepreneurship.

The United Nations Development Plan’s Maano Shimanda said one of the goals of the programme is to create about 10 million jobs across the continent.

“Education and skills are another goal where the youth need to be empowered in civic participation and leadership. The aim is also closing the gender gap, where it aims to redevelop or enhance sustainable initiatives and policies that will reduce gender inequality in education, in leadership, technology and jobs,” she reasoned.

Shimanda added: “How we as members will achieve this is by shaping policies, by creating and improving existing programmes, as well as strengthening partnerships with either government, individuals or the private sector.”

Sports and youth ministry executive director Mbumba Haitengela said there is a need for young Namibians to be at the forefront of innovation in the country, and to ultimately contribute to the greater good of the nation.

 “The ministry is tasked with an important mandate of developing and empowering the Namibian youth. Therefore, it is very crucial to be on the lookout for new and innovative ways in improving the livelihoods of our young people in all spheres of life; be it socially, academically and of course economically,” he stated.

Haitengela added: “With YouthConnekt Africa, it is an opportunity which our youth can leverage to make a difference in their daily life.”

African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYan) president Klaivert Mwandingi thinks the youth do not necessarily need innovation, but rather for opportunities to be created for them to thrive. 

“Young people are advancing very fast, and for me, I don’t think it’s the innovation that we need. We need to provide platforms because spaces have been shrinking when it comes to young people, whether self-employment or just employment. Regarding civic participation and leadership, that has also opened my vision. I am happy that at the forefront of this implementation for the UN agencies, it is young people working closely with the UN agencies in the country,” he shared.

Mwandingi is furthermore excited about seeing state agencies doing their best to make sure that young people are employed not only by the Namibian government, but also by their offices.


2022-09-08  Paheja Siririka

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