By Megameno Shikwambi
An estimated 400 candidates flocked to the Katutura hospital and the ministry of health to compete for the one post of administration officer of Etagameno Rehabilitation Centre, a sure sign that the unemployment situation has hit crisis point.
This has been worsened by the general melt-down in the economy which has registered negative growth almost all its sectors with mining contracting for the first time in two years.
The candidates were successfully shortlisted for tests which they wrote at two separate points, at Katutura hospital and the offices of the ministry of health this week.
Agriculture continues to suffer under a drought scourge which already has been declared a national disaster and a first of its kind in intensity for decades.
With a considerable number of companies in construction having shut down, many young people have been thrown into the streets, unemployed.
A number of students at Katutura hospital who were queuing for the tests expressed their frustrations saying they had little room for options and were all optimistic that they would land the post.
“ I brought a friend here. I understand that we are talking about people of plus or minus 400 and this is just for one single position. It shows a lot that somehow somewhere our government is not properly dealing with the realities on the ground.
It seems like the leaders are on their own, running their own show and they are way too detached from the reality on the ground.
When you are on top there you are speaking your language, you are even celebrating but when you come to the reality on the ground it’s a state of desperation. People are desperate, they want to get somewhere, and people want just to access basic needs.
Some of the people here in their plus or minus 400 are probably people that have graduated, they have got degrees, they have got education.
They are ready to work but somehow opportunities are not being created for them.
So much so that you get situations like this where there is one position where you get more than 400 people going for that because there is no other opportunity for them to get something.
So whatever is available people run for it in numbers,” said one Dirk Eigub.
According to the 2018 National Labour Force Survey, youth unemployment continues to be on the rise. According to the report, unemployment numbers jumped from 43% in 2016 to 46% in 2018.
This is nearly 3 times as many as the global average.
At the same time, this report highlights that overall, the national unemployment figure dropped slightly from 34% to a mere 33.4%.
“Obviously it’s tedious for any person who goes through the process,” said one Norah Schimming who was also in the queue to write the tests.
“But I have a one in 400 chances and that’s good enough for me so I guess we just have to sit and wait and do the test and I guess the thing that keeps everyone coming here is hope. Because that is really all you can hold on to,” she said.
According to researchers, Lihongeni Mulama and Victoria Nambinga Namibia has one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in southern Africa.
They estimate that 62% of the working-age adults in the country are between the ages of 15 and 34 (the age group broadly defined as “youth”) and projections indicate that the number of 15 – 24 year-olds will have doubled by 2045.
“This youthful population constitutes a crucial resource. But, without sufficient job prospects, it is a resource that will remain untapped,” they submit.
Schimming said it was undeniable that Namibia has a major crisis when it comes to joblessness among the youth.
“But I don’t think this is something that is going to be resolved within the wink of an eye.
I do believe that it is a process and unfortunately once again it’s a thing of saying this is what it is right now and it will take hard work from all the individuals,” she said. Nambinga has so far submitted that high rates of youth unemployment represent both widespread personal misfortune for individuals and a lost opportunity for critical national and global economic development.
“High numbers of economically frustrated youth may also contribute to social instability,” warned the research expert.