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Uneducated workforce impedes NamÔÇÖs economic growth - WEF

Mon, 19 January 2015 04:09
by Penda Jonas Hashoongo
News Flash

AN inadequately educated workforce
continues to be the biggest
stumbling block to Namibia’s
economic prosperity according to
the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest
global competitiveness index.
The report, which was released on the
10th December 2014, purports a lack of
adequate education in the workforce as the
most problematic factor to doing business in
Namibia.
The WEF’s assessment comes at a time
when Namibia is in the process of upgrading
its technologically-centred tertiary institution,
the Polytechnic of Namibia, to a university
to cater for apparent need to have a skilled
and educated workforce. The Ministry of
Education, through the National Training
Authority (NTA) also launched a VET levy last
year that will, if appropriately implemented,
enable them to train more people through the
vocational education training system.
Regardless of these impending
developments in the education sector, the
report places Namibia’s Higher Education
and Training at 115 out of the 144 economies,
a rank that compliments the assessment that
Namibia’s lacks an adequately educated
workforce.
Despite the introduction of finance
institutions such as the Small and Medium
Enterprise (SME) Bank, which is aimed at
assisting entrepreneurs with start-up capital to
get their enterprises up and running, as well
as the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN)
which financed all sectors before the SME
Bank’s introduction, access to finance still
remains a contributing factor to the country’s
relatively sluggish economic growth.
The report gives a negative review on
Namibia’s market, particularly its size,
Gross Domestic Product as well as exports
as a percentage of GDP. This assessment is
also backed up by the statistic of Namibia
contributing 0.02% to the world’s GDP.
In general, the annual report gives a
favourable assessment to Namibia’s financial
policies which play a major role in the
country’s overall competitiveness ranking.
Conversely, the report gives Namibia an
above-average assessment in terms of its
financial market development, with particular
emphasis on the soundness of banks.
Poor work ethic in the labour force,
corruption and restrictive labour laws make
up the remainder of top five most problematic
factors to doing business in Namibia according
to the report.
In terms of infrastructure, the report
suggests a lack of proper airport infrastructure
as an area of concern with Namibia only
having a solitary International airport (Hosea
Kutako) on the outskirts of the capital city.
The report does, however, give a favourable
assessment to the quality of the country’s
infrastructure, which is placed 42nd out of the
144 economies that were surveyed.
In the Health and Primary School pillar,
the impact of HIV/AIDS on the economy is
no longer a major stumbling block according
to the report, with the country receiving a very
low ranking compared to other countries where
HIV/AIDS has been most prevalent over the
last two decades. The report does, however,
place Namibia’s life-expectancy at a little
under 64 years, a figure that places 114th from
the 144 countries that were surveyed.
The global competitiveness index is a
report that uses 12 pillars to determine the
competitiveness of 144 economies around the
world.