Titus N Manuel
I want to challenge us with the high unemployment rate, and the few employment opportunities available in our country.
Let me first acknowledge employees who are struggling to make their work environment conducive as they try to engage their employers to improve their working conditions, of which salary is the key factor due to the high cost of living.
I have also followed some of our activists like Michael Amushelelo, who are helping employees to fight for economic emancipation at their workplaces to improve their living situation, which is worsening. I commend all efforts directed at improving our livelihoods.
However, I would like to present today that perhaps our government should try to focus on entrepreneurship as a solution to empower and emancipate the youth, as the unemployment rate is high. The entrepreneurship revolution is a solution-driven force, where the citizens embark on a journey to start driving their economy by engaging in entrepreneurial activities that will create employment and support our families and other citizens. Especially the youth, we are the driving force of entrepreneurial revolutions. We should fight for our rights in the right way, like demanding for our government to support our business plans.
In a country like Namibia, we have so many young professionals like medical doctors, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, nurses, agricultural professionals, artisans with different specialities, and IT technicians.
We just need a holistic approach that can create a conducive environment and support for one to start a business.
As young people, we can start coming together to plan how we can establish our businesses and join forces into small groups, based on the need of the business we want to start. I am sure by the end of five years, we shall have more successful start-ups with the potential to create jobs for ourselves as well as others.
Hence, there is a need to study entrepreneurship, not as just a subject of starting and running a business, but as an economic branch that can assist our government to address the life aspect of scarcity, and how entrepreneurship can be used to stimulate the country’s economy to grow and become a self-reliant country. This can only be achieved if our government, parastatals and corporate sector can intentionally decide to create initiatives that can directly support start-ups and any other industry like sports and entertainment. The government needs to create policies that support young entrepreneurs by providing financial support, training and mentorship to ensure that our young people are well-equipped so that once they graduate, they can start their businesses to create employment for themselves and others, rather than waiting to be employed.
We have many divisions within the ministry of industrialisation, but we see little effort or none being directed to raising awareness on how to start businesses, the importance of starting a business, or reaching out to communities on the ground to educate informal business owners on how to scale up their business. Just as we have created the sports commission to support all sports activities, we have the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) to support university students. The same should thus be done for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
There is a need to create a commission that focuses only on training, mentorship and financing start-ups and MSMEs to create a database every year on how many business owners were trained, and how their business is progressing. It is not the duty of the government to employ all graduates, but the government should create opportunities where everyone with skill and talent can participate.
Recently, MTC’s initiative: MTC 4LIFE, is aimed at tackling poverty by empowering Namibians to become self-employed within the SMEs sector. Such good support is what is needed from all. Thank you, MTC! Thumbs up for being the ambassador for the youth.
However, others, especially government, universities, parastatals and corporate entities need to empower youth to start big companies, not only as SMEs but to equip the youth with good innovation and development skills to excel in producing products and services that can be put on the global market to create entities that can create employment in big numbers to reduce the unemployment rate, and also contribute to the economy of our country. We need to do more if we want to emancipate our economy. We can start by empowering people to have power through economic means.
Once the majority have economic means, people will also be able to freely participate in the matters that concern the country’s economy and development.
* Titus N Manuel is the founder and chief operations officer of Nandose Business Consultants.