High Unemployment: Do What’s Right, Namibia

As a qualified unemployed nurse, I and many Namibians, particularly the youth, are going through turbulent times.

Media reports on the country’s unemployment crisis have left many Namibians wondering about this sad reality.
The statistics are alarming.

We are ranked the second most unequal country in the world, following South Africa.

More than half of Namibia’s voting population are experiencing the harsh reality of unemployment and numerous challenges that hinder their growth and development.

This will have an impact on this year’s election.

On Independence Day last year, unemployed young people took to the streets to protest against joblessness.

The same happened this year.

In August last year, Namibia experienced a poor turnout on Heroes Day.

This is an indication that many Namibians are tired of empty promises.

History has not solved any serious issue, like hunger, poverty, or joblessness.

It is a well-known fact that our country is not divided by tribalism or gender issues; we are divided by socio-economic inequalities, poverty, a high unemployment rate, corruption and the mismanagement of resources.

Unemployment reduces people’s social capital and participation, cutting them off from networks and relations which is the bridge to re-employment.

It is bad that many Namibians live in shacks, while others are homeless and many are poor and unable to afford a home.

There are many challenges in addressing the unemployment rate in Namibia. Let’s turn those challenges into opportunities and turn our words into practice.

Political philosopher Frantz Fanon once said each generation must discover its own mission, “fulfil it or betray it”.
Everything falls or rises on leadership.

As a youth activist, I am optimistic that Namibia has the potential to achieve a more than 70% employment rate.

We have the right population, and the country is blessed with an abundance of riches below and above ground.

I also believe if I can help resolve some of the issues affecting me and my people in any way even by 1%, then I must do so.

I therefore submit that we should have an employment creation conference. The government, private sectors, young people, labour experts, communities, traditional authorities, religious leaders and political leaders should sit in one chamber for at least for two weeks to craft a new social contract for economic growth and employment creation.

Furthermore, there is a need to learn from other countries’ employment creation initiatives.

This would give Namibia pointers on how to tackle the unemployment challenge.

For example, Argentina has a successful job guarantee programme, so there is a lot we can learn from that country.
Singapore is another country we should learn from.

Together we will be able to realise our full potential as a nation.

Young people, don’t lose hope, the future looks promising.

In conclusion, the state has a big responsibility to create a conducive environment for economic growth and job creation.

Professor Lumumba once said if young Africans have one duty, it is to irritate those in power in such an organised manner that they have no choice but to do what is right.

Alfeus Hamundja

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