By Maria Kandjungu
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob says that the youth in Namibia are first availed opportunities to be groomed before advancing to decision-making positions in society. Geingob was speaking at a media briefing last weekend during the just-ended 38th SADC Summit where he took over a Chair of the regional block. The head of state said the youth in Namibia, and the entire SADC region, need to be empowered and included in the decision making process, but first they need to be groomed and prepared before taking up roles such as deputy or ministerial positions. “They (young people) do not just climb a tree to the top. That’s not how things are done, at least not in SWAPO. They start from the bottom,” the president stated. Geingob made reference to Prime Minister Sara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, saying she was groomed at a young age before eventually taking the position of finance minister and later prime minister. “This is how we do things. And there are many not so young ministers anymore who went through the grooming process before eventually being where they are today,” Geingob said. The incoming SADC Chair urged the creation of opportunities to empower youths in the region, stating that it was imperative that SADC achieves sustained economic growth in order to create sufficient employment opportunities for young people. Geingob said the youth constitute a significant percentage of the SADC states’ population, and that it was in the regional body’s interest to ensure that the youth, who will be the leaders of the industrialised SADC, are equipped with the necessary tools required to govern industrialised nations. “In terms of youth empowerment, we all have to be cognizant of the fact that to unleash the enormous potential of our youth and harness the demographic dividend, we must create, within our economies, the necessary opportunities for social and economic transformation,” said the Namibian leader. Geingob said it was his belief that SADC’s renewed focus on industrialisation, especially through beneficiation and value addition, will enhance the region’s competitiveness and create opportunities for young men and women to participate fully in the exploitation of the region’s abundant natural resources. “We expect our youth to make valuable contributions to our development agendas as political and social actors, scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs and academics, to mention but a few,” he stated.
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