'Structural changes needed to economy to create jobs'

Namibia's unemployment rate is estimated to be 21,7%, and over 50% among the youth. Kantema-Gaomas was speaking at the opening of the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) national students congress yesterday. “At this point, it will require structural changes to the economy to create jobs,” she said. Currently, mining, livestock rearing, fishing, metallurgy and food processing have been the mainstays of the economy. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative Sheila Roseau recently described the reality of unemployment in the country as: “Namibia, with one of the youngest populations in Africa, could reach a staggering 50,30% youth unemployment rate by the end of 2021. “Failure to provide education, create decent opportunities and access to health services for a youth-dominated population poses a potential threat to the economic and social stability of the country.” The World Bank believes that the growth outlook is subject to significant uncertainty, given the unknown profile of the pandemic and likelihood of further restrictions in activity, if additional infection waves emerge. They advised that structural reforms are essential measures that ultimately change the fabric of an economy, including the institutional and regulatory framework in which businesses and people operate. The structural reforms, said the World Bank, are designed to ensure the Namibian economy is fit and better able to realise its growth potential in a balanced way. “Structural policy reforms will be required to raise Namibia's growth potential,” it stated. Senior lecturer in the department of economics at Unam, Omu Kakujaha-Matundu yesterday told The Namibian that he agrees with the deputy minister that mining, a large contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP), is capital intensive and doesn't create jobs in a big way. “The economy is tilted towards extractive industries exporting raw materials with little or no value addition. Raw minerals, beef, timber, fish etc. And you have a small manufacturing sector which is supposed to be a job creator.” Kakujaha-Matundu believes that unless the government restructures the economy to have a large manufacturing base, unemployment will continue to grow. “We need economic restructuring. Less reliance on the primary sector towards greater contribution of the secondary sector/manufacturing sector,” he added. He added that if the government reactivates the agricultural sector including the green schemes, backed by manufacturing or value added/processing activities, then the agricultural sector become the springboard for manufacturing activities/industries. “By doing so, creating more and more jobs,” he added. Economist Salomo Hei yesterday told The Namibian that he disagrees with Kantema-Gaomas, saying that job creation will happen if investment is put into a sector. If you invest in agriculture, more jobs can be created,” he said. Previously, labour expert Herbert Jauch pointed out that the government has not been able to present a coherent strategy to address unemployment and “mere statements” of intent, coupled with appeals for foreign investment will not suffice. “Instead, deliberate structural changes to the Namibian economy are urgently needed,” Jauch added. In 2012, the then special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, urged the Namibian government to implement systematic structural changes to address the levels of socio-economic inequality throughout the country, as well as develop more comprehensive social protection programmes and invest heavily in expanding access to public services. “Poor Namibians cannot wait any longer for the benefits of economic growth to 'trickle down'. The government must address the critical needs of the poorest and most marginalised as a matter of priority,” she said.

'Structural changes needed  to economy to create jobs'
Namibia's unemployment rate is estimated to be 21,7%, and over 50% among the youth. Kantema-Gaomas was speaking at the opening of the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) national students congress yesterday. “At this point, it will require structural changes to the economy to create jobs,” she said. Currently, mining, livestock rearing, fishing, metallurgy and food processing have been the mainstays of the economy. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative Sheila Roseau recently described the reality of unemployment in the country as: “Namibia, with one of the youngest populations in Africa, could reach a staggering 50,30% youth unemployment rate by the end of 2021. “Failure to provide education, create decent opportunities and access to health services for a youth-dominated population poses a potential threat to the economic and social stability of the country.” The World Bank believes that the growth outlook is subject to significant uncertainty, given the unknown profile of the pandemic and likelihood of further restrictions in activity, if additional infection waves emerge. They advised that structural reforms are essential measures that ultimately change the fabric of an economy, including the institutional and regulatory framework in which businesses and people operate. The structural reforms, said the World Bank, are designed to ensure the Namibian economy is fit and better able to realise its growth potential in a balanced way. “Structural policy reforms will be required to raise Namibia's growth potential,” it stated. Senior lecturer in the department of economics at Unam, Omu Kakujaha-Matundu yesterday told The Namibian that he agrees with the deputy minister that mining, a large contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP), is capital intensive and doesn't create jobs in a big way. “The economy is tilted towards extractive industries exporting raw materials with little or no value addition. Raw minerals, beef, timber, fish etc. And you have a small manufacturing sector which is supposed to be a job creator.” Kakujaha-Matundu believes that unless the government restructures the economy to have a large manufacturing base, unemployment will continue to grow. “We need economic restructuring. Less reliance on the primary sector towards greater contribution of the secondary sector/manufacturing sector,” he added. He added that if the government reactivates the agricultural sector including the green schemes, backed by manufacturing or value added/processing activities, then the agricultural sector become the springboard for manufacturing activities/industries. “By doing so, creating more and more jobs,” he added. Economist Salomo Hei yesterday told The Namibian that he disagrees with Kantema-Gaomas, saying that job creation will happen if investment is put into a sector. If you invest in agriculture, more jobs can be created,” he said. Previously, labour expert Herbert Jauch pointed out that the government has not been able to present a coherent strategy to address unemployment and “mere statements” of intent, coupled with appeals for foreign investment will not suffice. “Instead, deliberate structural changes to the Namibian economy are urgently needed,” Jauch added. In 2012, the then special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, urged the Namibian government to implement systematic structural changes to address the levels of socio-economic inequality throughout the country, as well as develop more comprehensive social protection programmes and invest heavily in expanding access to public services. “Poor Namibians cannot wait any longer for the benefits of economic growth to 'trickle down'. The government must address the critical needs of the poorest and most marginalised as a matter of priority,” she said.