UNEMPLOYMENT amongst the youth is a critical issue in Namibia, and to address this requires a concerted and joint effort from all stakeholders in the country, Keetmanshoop mayor Gaudentia Kröhne says.
Kröhne was speaking at the prize-giving ceremony of the //Karas youth entrepreneurship development Programme (KYEDP) on Saturday.
The KYEDP is an initiative established by local youth which aims to address youth unemployment in the region, and also to encourage an entrepreneurship culture among young people.
She said Namibia has one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in southern Africa, with 62% of working adults in the country between the ages of 14 and 34, regarded as youth.
"This youthful population constitutes a crucial resource, but without sufficient job prospects, these are resources that will remain untapped," she stated.
Kröhne added that 43,4% of Namibian youth are unemployed, which is nearly three times more than the global average.
"High rates of youth unemployment represent both widespread personal misfortunes for individuals, and a lost opportunity for critical national and global economic development, while high numbers of economically frustrated youth may also contribute to social instability," she observed.
One of the cited solutions to unemployment among the youth is entrepreneurship and self-employment since it offers young people the opportunity to break out from unemployment, as it is evident that traditional education falls short of providing young people with the basic skills they need to succeed in business.
"Insufficient emphasis is placed on the development of these crucial skills to prepare young people for victory in today's rapidly changing and globalised world," noted Kröhne.
She expressed the belief that programmes such as the KYEDP guarantee that the young people who take part will not be counted amongst the unemployed, as they now possess a set of skills that would enable them to navigate through life successfully and make a success of their businesses.Thirty youth from the region took part in the week-long entrepreneurship training, which was concluded with a pitch competition on Saturday.
During the competition, the group presented their business ideas to a panel of judges, where the best idea won prizes.
Speaking to Nampa on Monday, KYEDP group leader Annelien van Wyk said out of the 30 who entered the competition, eight were already business owners, and 10 people won prizes.
Van Wyk said two walked away with the first prize of N$15 000, second prize was N$7 000, third N$5 000, fourth prize was N$3 000 and fifth was N$2 000.
The funds were made available by the Anglo-American Namibia Foundation.