Namibia Launches SME Capacity-Building Initiative

THE Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme launched Namibia's capacity-building programme for the promotion of entrepreneurship and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises on Wednesday.

The initiative, called Empretec, has centres in 40 countries, which provide an opportunity for participants to explore international markets and establish cross-border business links.

Speaking at the launch, UNDP resident representative, Alka Bhatia said the UN will utilise the Empretec methodology to support the government through the ministry of trade in enhancing entrepreneurship development in Namibia.

"This is done with technical support from Empretec Ghana Foundation which is one of the leading Empretec programmes in Africa," she said.

She said according to the 2018 Namibia Labour Force Survey report, youth unemployment in the country stood at 46,1% up from 43,4% recorded in 2016.

"These high unemployment rates, especially among the youth, call for more integrated approaches to ensure that we leave no one behind," Bhatia noted, adding that the programme has a reputable success rate as many of the graduates have gone on to establish businesses and create employment for other people.

Particular attention for the Empretec Namibia programme includes skills development activities aimed at eradicating poverty through self-employment of young people, women and vulnerable groups.

Bhatia said the full value chain of Empretec comprises entrepreneurial and management skills training, business counselling, access to finance, assistance in identifying opportunities between micro and small enterprises with larger local and international companies, among others.

"It is expected that the programme will stimulate economic growth to generate employment opportunities, create wealth and reduce poverty in the country," she said.

Trade minister Tjekero Tweya said the national policy on SMEs identified lack of finance, market and entrepreneurial skills as key constraints in the MSMEs development in the country.

He added that the overall goal of Empretec Namibia will be to bring about transformational change in realising the growth potential of MSMEs in Namibia, and urged all Namibians to take up the opportunity.

- Nampa

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