Industrialisation and value addition must boost job creation

Niël Terblanché

The Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni, has called on unemployed graduates, particularly in engineering and technical fields, to establish production factories.

During a site visit to a tin and lithium mine near Uis in the Erongo Region last week, Uutoni stressed the critical need for Namibia to shift from merely exporting raw materials to industrialising its economy.

He said that this transition is a key strategy to create jobs and lift thousands of Namibians out of poverty.

“We cannot continue exporting our raw materials without adding value. We must move towards industrialization to create more jobs and improve the livelihoods of our people. I urge our unemployed graduates to be innovative and establish production factories that will add value to our natural resources,” Uutoni said.

Namibia’s mining industry, a cornerstone of the country’s economy, has traditionally focused on the extraction and export of raw materials such as tin, lithium, and uranium.

Despite numerous discussions on the need to industrialise, the country continues to export these valuable resources without significant value addition, missing out on potential economic benefits.

The Erongo Region is a critical hub for various economic activities, including mining, fishing, logistics, transport, and tourism.

Uis was once a thriving mining town at the base of Brandberg Mountain, but it experienced a significant economic decline following the closure of the Uis Tin Mine in 1990 due to a drop in global tin prices.

This closure left many residents turning to small-scale mining of semi-precious stones for their livelihood.

Uutoni’s visit to the region reiterated the potential for rejuvenating the local economy through value addition and industrialisation.

He stressed the importance of leveraging the region’s diverse resources to create sustainable economic growth and employment opportunities.

During his visit, the minister also met with local leaders and stakeholders to discuss strategies for enhancing economic activities in the region.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting initiatives that promote value addition and sustainable development.

This includes potential incentives for entrepreneurs and technical support for setting up production facilities.

Uutoni’s visit also included tours of local small-scale mining operations and discussions with miners about the challenges they face.

Uutoni reassured them of the government’s support in enhancing their activities and integrating them into the broader value chain.

“The path to economic transformation lies in our ability to harness our resources effectively and create value-added products that can compete on a global scale. It is through such efforts that we can build a resilient economy and improve the standard of living for all Namibians,” Uutoni said.

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