The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) North Chairperson Thomas Koneka Iindji is calling on NCCI members to take innovation and entrepreneurship seriously and is imploring on the youth mentorship throughout the country.
Indji said that the northern branch of the flagship of collective business identity, which has come a long way in advocating the interests of the various businesses in the northern regions of the country and beyond has noted with dismay that Namibians have a habit of enjoying debates and talking, but slow to make real changes that would have a noticeable impact on their lives.
He noted that the NCCI Northern branch has lobbied government in finding solutions to common challenges facing entrepreneurs in Namibia, which are practical and achievable and now seek to include the broader public in this debate.
He said youth mentorship needs to become a common theme throughout the country as oftentimes Namibian business owners are unwilling to share their knowledge and wisdom to up and coming entrepreneurs for fear that their ideas will be stolen.
‘’NCCI has attempted to spearhead such a mentorship network with very little success, but the desire for an open sharing culture where the elders of the business community that have overcome challenges and become successful can mentor the SMEs trying to find their way in a competitive marketplace. NCCI will continue its mentorship efforts through such initiatives as the Enterprise Development Program, although more resources are needed in order for this to be effective. There is zero chance of success if industry leaders continue to operate in isolation and are unwilling to share their wealth of knowledge so that our economy may grow,’’ said Iindji.
Namibia faces many economic challenges to development. The Namibian Unemployment rate is hovering near 30%, while the unemployment rate for youth is a staggering 43.4%. A further analysis of this number reveals a gender gap with the number of female youths employed falling well short of the number of male youths employed. Due to a variety of factors, our National GDP Growth Rate slowed from 6.4% in 2014 to 4.5% in 2015. Government programs of the past have been somewhat successful in lifting many Namibian’s out of poverty, but income distribution is still unevenly skewed toward the urban areas and a few wealthy families with access to land and other assets. While many jobs have been created, there are still large amounts of previously disadvantaged Namibians that cannot get ahead of the curve.
‘’Young entrepreneurs and SME owners often require mentorship and skills development in order to be successful. Therefore, we want to advocate for the following proposals to be taken seriously as viable tools to boost the success rate and growth. We are now advocating for the Government to get behind NCCI’s EDP program by allocating additional resources so that it becomes a stalwart program driving business development,’’ said IIndji.