Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob has encouraged Namibia graduates to be innovative and also come up with ideas that create employment if the country is going to rein in on runaway unemployment hovering around 29% of the economically active population.
Dr Geingob who was addressing 1120 graduates from the International University of Management (IUM) last week at their capping ceremony in the capital reiterated that graduates need to cultivate their skill in the country to help the country edge closer to the Vision 2030 dream.
"The times are changing. Gone are the days when having a good qualification alone would guarantee one a good career or job. The Global Employment Trends Report 2014 said employment growth remains weak, unemployment continues to rise, especially among young people, and large numbers of discouraged potential workers are still outside the labour market," Dr Geingob said.
He argued that Namibia needs to focuss on a knowledge driven economy." Today emphasis is fast shifting not to the jobs of the industrial era but to jobs in a knowledge-based society. As I had said some time ago, In our case, this shift is taking place concurrently because we need jobs that could be termed as the industrial era jobs as well as those for the new knowledge based society. To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we need young people to be innovative, enthusiastic and enterprising because success today depends on these attributes,” he said.
Dr Geingob added that mphasis is being placed on supporting tertiary education in the country in a bid to cut down on a heavy skills deficit burden that has left industry complaining of unavailability of rare skills in the country.
"By the end of the National Development Plan 4 (2012-2017), it is expected that Namibia should have laid a foundation for becoming the most competitive economy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. This is a very ambitious undertaking. In the global economic race, nations that have succeeded are those that have a competitive advantage and not necessarily those that just have a comparative advantage," Dr Geingob said adding that, "The latter is determined by resource endowment, where the former is primarily determined by an efficient and effective public sector with educated people."
The Premier emphasised that, "A strategy for improving workforce productivity to drive higher value for the firms has become an important focus. This applies to the public sector as well. As a result, aspiration for Namibia to be the most competitive economy in SADC can be achieved by having an guarantee a job or a good career."
He added that Namibia needs to focus on policies that drive rapid economic growth ad creates opportunities for all citizens.
"To succeed, our economy must grow, our economy must become competitive and productive, our skills must be relevant and to keep that relevance, we must engage in lifelong learning. As an analogy, we must learn, as technology evolves and the global economy changes, to be the ones to invent and programme the robots, not the ones to be displaced, if we are to have fulfilling careers. To our graduates, you have an exciting future ahead," he said.
Dr Geingob added that the country also needs graduates that are able to adapt to the needs of the economy and also able to convert their theoretical knowledge into practice as required by industry.
" My hope is to see you grow into accomplished young adults, whose success is defined not just by grades, status or wealth, but by your pride in doing something meaningful, something that you believe in," he said. The IUM has so far managed to produce graduates successfully for the past ten years and has also created good competition for Polytechnic of Namibia and the University of Namibia.