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Namibia's Youth speaks about skills development, entrepreneurship and innovative business ideas at a Conference on Sustainable Economic Development Opportunities for Youth in Namibia
The European Union Delegation in Namibia in partnership with the National Youth Council, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, German Cooperation, AISEC and the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre hosted a Conference on Sustainable Economic Development Opportunities for Youth in Namibia. The Conference took place on the 7th of September in Windhoek and the aim was to bring together youth groups from different walks of life to discuss their aspirations, challenges and recommendations on topics such as youth entrepreneurship, job creation and education and skills development. Similarly, the purpose of the Conference was to ensure that the Namibian Youth’s voices are heard and reflected in the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit, which took place from 9-11 October, as well as in the 5th AU-EU Summit that will take place from 29-30 November in Abidjan.
The Youth Conference was by all accounts a success and well attended by representatives from various youth-led organizations, representatives from 10 of Namibia’s 14 Regions, EU Member States, entrepreneurs and the general public. The key-note address was delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. In her address she underlined the need for a holistic approach towards youth development and that health education forms an important part of it. She also urged the youth not to shy away from engaging in the agriculture sector as it offers a wide array of potential job opportunities and act as a safety net to a large part of the population in Namibia. In her statement, EU Ambassador to Namibia, Jana Hybaskova informed delegates about the EU’s main support programmes in Namibia, namely, Education and in particular Vocational Training and Livestock. In addition, she briefed the conference about EU financing and support mechanisms, such as the Erasmus Mundus Programme and the recently launched European External Investment Plan.
A Panel discussion was held, consisting of speakers from government and the private sector, who shared their experience and skills. This was followed by break-away sessions on the following themes: (i) Financing for Youth Entrepreneurship; (ii) Essential Skills and Competencies required by Namibian Youth Entrepreneurs; (iii) Improving the Regulatory and Legal Climate, including Market Access in support of entrepreneurs and lastly (iv) Innovative Business Ideas. Representatives from the various groups then met in plenary to report back on their findings. Some of the main findings and recommendations made by the youth include: The importance of financial acumen. It was proposed that a Youth Fund be created at national level and to have business shadowing and mentorship programmes; the need for continuous learning and re-skilling in order to respond to market demands. Participants proposed that Vocational training be marketed so that the youth does not see this as a last resort; Regarding the Regulatory and Legal climate, the youth felt civil servants need regular training in order to formulate suitable and practical laws and regulations and do away with those that impede business. Government needs to create a conducive business environment, for instance a “One-Step Business Registration” set-up needs to be operational. In terms of Innovative Business Ideas – the youth appealed for Business support that would allow them to test and improve their products, training and platforms for business mentoring.
The Report on the outcome has been finalized for use by national policy makers, Development partners and other stakeholders.