Policies should coordinate training for entrepreneurs: AU Commission

23 Dec 2018 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 DEC (NAMPA) – Entrepreneurship policies need to coordinate social protection and training to help entrepreneurs transition back to labour markets, a report by the African Union Commission (AUC) has recommended.
This, it said, was because the lack of formal employment opportunities in Namibia pushed the majority of job seekers into self-employment.
The ‘Africa’s Development Dynamics Report 2018’ released on Thursday addresses the links between growth, employment and inequality in the Southern African region (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
It also highlights the drivers of growth and the need to diversify the economy, as well as the challenges interlinking the lack of quality jobs and the inequality in Southern Africa.
According to the report, structural unemployment has persisted due to labour market distortions and a skills mismatch in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries, which are Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.
In non-SACU countries (Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the unemployment rate is lower, yet underemployment is a severe concern.
The AUC said SACU countries are characterised by a higher level of job quality but also higher structural unemployment, whereby the unemployment rate has remained at over 15 per cent since the 1990s.
Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland had an increase in unemployment rates between 1991 and 2016, the report said.
“Across all periods, unemployment is higher among females. The youth suffer particularly from the employment problem [and] youth unemployment, especially among females, has increased over time for the majority of countries in the region,” the report said. Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland had the largest increases in youth unemployment rates, each in excess of seven per cent, between 1991 and 2015.
The report also highlighted that income inequality in Namibia is linked to high unemployment due to inadequate skills and a skills mismatch.
It further recommended that the national development agenda needs to encourage the creation of low-skill jobs on a large scale, namely through industrialisation, and to unlocking the barriers to entrepreneurship that will allow motivated entrepreneurs to create jobs.
Better education and training, especially for the youth, will also be critical to address the skills mismatch and the unemployment trap, the report stated.