More Youths Must Be Represented in Leadership Roles

Asser Nakale

Having young people in leadership roles is important for several reasons.

Not only do they have unique experiences and perspectives that can challenge traditional thinking and foster creativity, but young people are also relatively more adaptable to change.

Further, including young people in leadership positions promotes diversity and representation.

It ensures that the voices and concerns of the younger generations are heard and considered in decision-making processes.

For this reason, African and other countries, including Namibia, should strive for fair youth representation in leadership and decision-making roles, especially considering that the youth often make up the majority of the population.


The recently released preliminary census data from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) reveals intriguing population statistics.

It indicates that 37% of Namibia’s population are 0-14 years, while the working-age group (15-59) makes up 56,1%, and those aged 60 and above represent 6,8%.

Despite this demographic distribution, a significant portion of Namibia’s leadership is made up of individuals aged 60 and above.
In essence, more than 93% of the country’s population is governed by people who make up just 6,8% of the population.

It would be useful to ascertain the ages of those in leadership roles who are 60 and above, as some are likely to be more than 70 years old.

This situation underscores the gap that exists in providing fair representation for the youth in leadership positions.

It’s uncertain whether this is because older leaders are reluctant to acknowledge the competence of younger individuals or a lack of willingness to give them opportunities.

This issue extends beyond the national level and is prevalent in institutional structures as well.

Many leadership and decision-making committees within institutions are predominantly comprised of older individuals, often nearing retirement age. These individuals make decisions that often won’t affect them because they will have retired by the time those decisions come into effect.

And such decisions are purportedly made in the interest of young people.

Notwithstanding the wisdom that comes with age, it is worth considering the value of incorporating young people into these decision-making processes and grooming them for future leadership roles.


While young individuals may lack experience, they bring valuable qualities that can benefit organisations and inspire other young people.

Conversely, some older leaders tend to remain passive until they near retirement or are no longer able to lead effectively, at which point they may make rushed, desperate and sometimes ill-conceived decisions in a bid to leave behind a positive legacy.

What is even more frustrating is that even leadership positions supposedly related to youth affairs are often filled by the over-60 brigade.

There are undoubtedly plenty of capable young individuals in Namibia who could serve as much more effective leaders.

It is ironic to consistently hear about individuals aged 70 or even 80, representing a country where the working-age group makes up 56,1% of the population, while they make up 6,8%.

The issue is not the incapability of young people, but rather that they are not given an opportunity.

They at least deserve the benefit of the doubt, considering it’s their future that is at stake.

Therefore, young leaders fortunate enough to hold positions should strive to showcase their competence and advocate more youth representation in leadership roles.

  • * Asser Nakale is an sssistant archivist in the ministry of education, Oshikoto region. This article is written in his personal capacity; X (Twitter):
@AsserNakale; email:

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