Written by Loise Ndinelago Shipepe – the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Namibia. See the full list of 2021 Blog4Dev winners here, and read their blog posts.
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is a systematic risk that has affected the economies of all countries in the world, and Namibia is no exception. As the pandemic continues, it could also drive a lot of Africans into extreme poverty.
. Many Namibians lost their jobs during the lockdown, and only a few got their jobs back after the lockdown was lifted. The majority of Namibians affected by unemployment are the youth; in 2020 the estimated youth unemployment rate in Namibia was at 41 percent (Statista, 2020).
When there are no opportunities, you don’t wait for opportunities. You create them!
Youth must put on their thinking caps to work with the government and civil society organizations to build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system of Namibia.
Namibia’s most sought-after motivational speaker, Sam Shivute, said “Let’s believe in ourselves, let’s know and believe that we are unlimited, only limited by the concept of limitation that we place in our mind.”
I truly believe we are unlimited beings and Namibian youth have the potential to rebuild the economy of this country–but everything starts within oneself. Youth must change their mindsets, believe in themselves, and form a Youth Empowerment Organization (YEO).
Also read: Empowering young Africans through STEM
This YEO should partner with civil society organizations like the Namibia Media Trust to help sensitize the youth about their rights in decision-making. And the young people need to make the policy makers acknowledge the fact that “lockdown” should be avoided as an option because it will make it worse and difficult for the economy to recover, a well-designed economic stimulus package could be a good start in this regard. Furthermore, YEO could collaborate with civil societies like the African Pathfinder Leaders Initiative to help the youth unleash their full potentials and identify 21st century opportunities.
In addition,. For example, many young people have amazing business ideas, but start-up capital always presents a challenge to turn these ideas into viable businesses.
Instead of the government giving loans to young entrepreneurs who lack financial literacy and who don’t really have access to market, YEO can collaborate with the government to provide financial experts who would serve as mentors to start-ups. These “business angels” would fund and advise young entrepreneurs, and aim to build at least 100 financially stable businesses and create at least 10,000 jobs by 2030.
Furthermore, transparency and strong work ethic should be the motto of this organization. As Namibia is no stranger to corruption, well known for the fishrot bribery scandal, corruption is the worst enemy for development and the duty of the youth is to challenge corruption and fight for equality to close the gap between the rich and the poor.