Eba Kandovazu

POPULAR Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament, Inna Hengari, has revealed that Namibia is ranked in the top three African countries with the highest youth unemployment in the world, alongside South Africa and Nigeria.

Hengari yesterday tabled a motion on youth unemployment. According to Hengari, Nigeria stands at 33.3 percent, Namibia at 33.4 percent and South Africa at 34 percent. “These countries have the highest unemployment rates not only in Africa but in the world as tracked by Bloomberg. This rise in unemployment for Namibia is problematic, especially given the size of the economy and population of the country, compared to two of Africa’s largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria.”

She adds that in 2016, 62 percent of the working-age adults in the country were between the ages of 15 and 34, broadly defined as youth. According to recent projections the number of 15-24-year-olds will have doubled by 2045. The youth population constitutes a crucial resource but, without sufficient job prospects, it is a resource that will remain untapped.

Hengari states that youth unemployment is estimated to reach a staggering 50.3 percent by the end of this year, mainly because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The economic consequences of half of the most productive labour force being excluded from the economy are obvious. Low output, low levels of income, high levels of poverty, and increased levels of substance abuse. Alcohol, prostitution, and drug abuse becomes the order of the day. These are the consequences of high youth

unemployment rate. It is true that without an expanded market growing the economy and tackling, youth unemployment will remain a pipe dream,”Hengari stresses.

She has since called on the declaration of a state of emergency on the matter, while recommending curriculum and teaching methods aimed at developing non- cognitive skills and employability knowledge helpful for navigating the labour market. She has also recommended the facilitation of SME to access international markets, amongst others.