‘Namibians lack start-up skills’

Deputy executive director of industrialisation and trade, Michael Humavindu

THE Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade says Namibian entrepreneurs are able to easily identify opportunities, but lack start-up skills.

The deputy executive director of industrialisation and trade, Michael Humavindu, says the ministry has been working on providing entrepreneurs with training to develop these skills.

“According to an analysis of the national informal economy start-up and entrepreneurship development policy (Niesed), Namibian entrepreneurs lack growth in technology absorption, process innovation, and risk capital,” he says.

Humavindu says the policy’s goal is to transform informal traders and start-ups into commercially viable contributors to the mainstream economy, fostering sustainable economic growth.

He says during consultations that were held in the regions, stakeholders have raised concerns over financing, which remains a challenge to many businesses.

“One of the suggestions was an introduction of the nano-business category within the micro definition – a business with one or no employees, and less than N$50 000 in capital outlay,” Humavindu says.

He says stakeholders have requested that business regulations/municipal by-laws are reviewed.

“There is also concern regarding foreign business competition at the micro, small and medium enterprise level for both registered and unregistered businesses,” Humavindu says.

He says suggestions were made to reserve sectors such as basic education, sand mining and vocational education for locals.

Trade minister Lucia Iipumbu says Namibia is also finalising consultations on the Namibia investment promotion and facilitation bill, which is to be reintroduced in the parliament soon.

“These regulations are designed to streamline investment procedures, reduce bureaucratic hurdles and enhance investor confidence,” she says.

The bill’s accompanying draft regulations aim to create a more efficient process, attracting both domestic and foreign investment across various sectors.

Iipumbu says the informal sector contributes significantly to the Namibian economy.

“We are aware of the significance of informal sector operators to our nation and the contribution of the sector to our socio-economic fabric,” she says.

Iipumbu says the Niesed policy tackles challenges faced by informal traders and start-ups, such as limited infrastructure, a lack of entrepreneurial development and insufficient institutional backing.

“The establishment of special economic zones (SEZ) is critical to our economic strategy,” she says.

Iipumbu says these zones aim to attract investment by offering a business-friendly environment with incentives and streamlined regulations.

“The SEZ bill, alongside its regulations, aims to further solidify this strategy by fostering innovation, driving productivity and diversifying the economy,” she says.

The 2018 Namibia Labour Force Survey revealed that 57,7% of employed Namibians work informally, with women constituting a majority in this sector.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing industries employ 35% of informal workers, the survey revealed.

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