Obrein Simasiku/Martin Endjala
Prime Minister Saraa Kuugongelwa Amadhila has encouraged young entrepreneurs who feel side-lined by government agencies and ministries to report to her office.
She said if their products or services are not considered for procurement while they are of good
quality standards, they should not hesitate to call on her office, Prime Minister, Saara Kuukongelwa-Amadhila said.
‘’There are products that government uses regularly and on a daily basis, but such are sourced outside, however if you meet the standards as an entrepreneur locally, there is no need of these ministries to procure such from abroad. If you meet the standard and your products are quality, I hereby direct the ministries to buy such from local entrepreneurs, and by so doing boosting their business to grow and create further employment.’’
She said this at the launch of the 121 Rural Youth Financial Enterprises here in the capital, where the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) advanced, N$8 million soft loan to the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Services, to fund 28 youth entrepreneurs from all 14 regions.
The programme is part of the government’s Harambee Prosperity Plan 1, which seeks to develop youth enterprises in all 121 constituencies in the country.
The aim of the project is to create a minimum of 1210 new, direct, permanent and sustainable jobs for youth residing in rural and urban areas.
“The development of 121 Rural Youth Financial Enterprises is part of our national development goals to grow the economy, create employment, and reducing poverty and inequality,’’ said the Prime Minister, further stressing the government alone cannot address all the development challenges facing the country.
Hence the need for collaborative partnership from across the entire spectrum of society, including the private sector, civil society, faith-based organizations and development partners all need to come on board.
Therefore, stakeholders are urged to work together in supporting the Rural Youth Enterprises through funding, mentorship and access to markets.
The remaining 93 rural youth enterprises, of which 37 are agribusinesses, are yet to be funded, of which the existing facilities offered by government for SMEs and graduates from tertiary education institutions are also open to youth enterprises.
Kuukongelwa-Amadhila encourages the youth to make optimal use of these facilities, as well as to make effective use of opportunities offered by digitalization.
The beneficiaries are also encouraged to be prepared to stay the course and nurture their businesses to become successful, and not to aim for a quick profit.
“As a government, although we cannot promise you smooth sailing in this initiative, we assure you of our full commitment to walk with you on this exciting journey to become successful entrepreneurs and key stakeholders in our economy,” said the Premier, while advising the youth to seize every opportunity that comes their way, and to give it their best efforts.
“Remember, every mistake you will make is an opportunity to learn new lessons. So, whenever you fall, pick yourself up and move forward. Only where there is persistence can be success,” concluded Kuukongelwa-Amadhila.
The Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Emma Kantema-Gaomas, said that the implementation of these projects is to empower young people to gain much needed skills as future entrepreneurs who will uplift the rural arears and bring about the realization of jobs for the communities.
She highlighted the Prime Minister’s leadership as one that should be emulated as she is always looking for initiatives to empowering the younger generation.
The deputy minister continued to emphasize that provisions have been made available so that the 28 youth entrepreneurs can utilize the services rendered to them by the ministry and its stakeholders to realize their potential.
She further urged young people to approach her ministry should they require further assistance.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries at the launch, was Antonios Negumbo, who said that the generation of tomorrow is being commissioned to undertake the development of the future of tomorrow.
Negumbo pointed out that youth enterprise is a reflection of government involvement in youth empowerment, adding that they will gain skills and capacity to enable them to create jobs and advance their business potential.
The head of SME Finance at the Development Bank of Namibia said, as a means to address the challenges, the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service launched an initiative to register close corporations in rural constituencies across Namibia. The goal was to employ at least 10 youths in each enterprise.
The Ministry approached the Development Bank of Namibia to form a smart partnership.
DBN’s initial involvement consisted of business management training for 407 young people from the 121 rural youth enterprises, an exercise that involved technical support worth N$1.2 million.
The exercise also involved helping the youth identify potential business ideas in their constituencies and developing business plans.
One of the bank’s goals is the provision of finance for young entrepreneurs in which the programme is expected to be a seed for the future of Namibia’s economy.