Can Namibia Realize Full Employment Without Foreign Direct Investment?

Have you ever actually looked at the can fish for Pilchards by Seawork? It reads: “Packed by: ABD Khan Co., Ltd, Thailand. Packed for: Seawork Fish Processors Pty (Ltd), Ben Amathila Ave, Walvis Bay, Namibia. PRODUCT OF THAILAND”.

So, what’s wrong with this?

They catch the fish in Namibian water by a Namibian-based company by a few Namibian employed fishermen, and then they ship the fish to Thailand for processing and packaging, and then ship the same fish in packaged Can, back to Namibia for sale to the Namibian consumers.

Again, what’s wrong with that picture?

There’s no value-added to the Namibian produced fish; instead of creating employment by allowing the fish to be processed and packaged in Namibia by the Namibians, they ship the fish to a foreign country and then allow the creation of more jobs there by those who process and package the fish.

Also, the cans are probably also produced in Thailand, so they enable the buying of Thailand produced cans to package Namibia’s produced fish. And that’s the missing value-added factor.

Because when ABD Khan Co orders cans from another company to package the fish, the Can manufacturer will likely creating more jobs and then increasing demands for more raw material, the raw materials that are used to make cans. The process goes on like that with further value-addition. By the time they ship the packaged Cans to Namibia; probably more than 10 people, employees, have contributed to the packaging of just one Can Fish to package fish for Seawork in Namibia.

Now imagine if Seawork were to process and package their own can fish products right here in Namibia. How many Namibians would be employed to process, and package the fish? Also, how many Namibians would be employed in manufacturing the Cans that are used to package the fish?

It’s nearly like that with almost all industries in Namibia; from uranium, diamonds, chicken, etc. The uranium in Namibia is mined and shipped overseas raw for processing, same as with diamonds, they are mined, some are cut and polished in Namibia, but more are processed and sold by NDTC outside Namibia in London.

Actually, and I stand for correction, De Beers pays the Namibia Government an average of about US$300 per carat for a diamond, and then De Beer resells them in London at the market value of about US$1,500 per carat, that’s a good fat profit for De Beer. In 2009, Namdeb produced about 2.1 million of carats, and then De Beers paid for an average US$300 per carat for those diamonds and went to resell them in London at the market value. You do the math, how much does the Government of Namibia actually make annually from the sales of its diamond to De Beer and how much does De Beer make further in London from the same diamonds they pay for in Namibia?

How about the chicken we buy and eat in Namibia? It is grown in Namibia but then it is shipped to Brazil for processing and then shipped back to Namibia for sale to the Namibian people.

Namibia has a high rate of unemployment; the rate used is 51% which is a 2008 rate. The actual unemployment rate for Namibia for 2010/2011 is about 54%.  This is just because we are letting this unemployment to keep rising; we chose to let it continue climbing. But we can actually create full employment for all the Namibian people just through the current industry and investment projects in Namibia right now, but only if we review and restructure the current factories and production facilities currently in Namibia.

Why is there a high rate of unemployment in Namibia? It’s because we all chose to let it be, not because of lack of it.

But then again, there’s a nasty flip side to this case.

Why would Seawork outsource to do their fish processing and packaging in Thailand? Why would any other Namibian made, grown and produced products be sent overseas for processing and packaging?

This is very simple; because of lack of entrepreneurship by Namibians. Namibians are becoming more and more alcoholics. They spend too many evenings and nights on Eveline Streets in Windhoek and other similar shebeens all throughout Namibia, just drinking and talking nonsense, instead of spending more time trying to venture out into creating businesses that would offer the service such as fish processing and packaging for such as Seawork and other fishing companies, right in Namibia.

Namibian entrepreneurs could establish chicken processing and packaging plants to provide chicken producers with the services they outsource to Brazil. Namibia already has cheap labor; these companies don’t outsource their raw materials for processing and packaging to overseas because labor in Namibia is too expensive.

It’s simply because Namibians spend too much time drinking and less time learning and developing their own skills to know how to do some of these things. And those who might want to venture out into their own businesses, they spend too much time crying foul over government tenders and over the BEE scheme, and not venturing out to develop and provide the needed services and solutions to add great value to what producers in the country are producing.

Seawork is not in the business of processing and packaging can fish, they are in the business of catching and selling fish. Hence the need for some Namibian entrepreneurs to step up and offer the service that Seawork and other producers need.

All this should be done by and between private enterprises, not the government. As an entrepreneur, you discover and seek out opportunities to make money, but as a “tenderpreneur”, you simply focus on what the government can feed you. There’s no spirit and gut to innovate and venture out on your own to offer the needed skills and services for such as Seawork.

The government should only step in to create an environment conducive to encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship mentorship and development. Also, one of the biggest issues the government of Namibia does is hiring foreign consultants to do the jobs that Namibians themselves could do.

Nearly every little thing, such as research, development, and written instruments in Namibia are done by foreign consultants, but yet, the Government of Namibia employs more than 80,000 of Namibians, who most of them are graduates of the Namibian institutions of high learning, such as the University of Namibia, The Polytechnic of Namibia, and IUM.

Most of these graduates are graduating without any real practical skills and knowledge. Mostly because these institutions are not developing and producing world-class students, they graduate with no jack-knowledge, just theory-based but no real life experience and or application. Why? Because some of those students spend too much time partying and drinking alcohol, and simply study to pass the exams. Also, because there’s no greater link and networking partnership between Namibia based enterprises and these institutions to offer practical learning environment and skills for the students.

Nearly the whole Namibian institutions need to be reviewed and refocused in order to realize full employment for the Namibian people. Hence even the recent N$14 billion budget that has been passed and allocated to help create employment in Namibia will not help much unless these fundamentals have been studied, reviewed and reformatted.

A development of the Groot Town Center ecosystem will help eliminate most of these issues, because we are developing it having considered, formatted and constituted interlink projects and programs to help encourage entrepreneurship mentorship and development, creation of innovation, and the development of cutting-edge production and manufacturing plants, right here in Namibia.

Invite me to talk to you, your employees today to lecture them on efficiency and productivity, or attend my next “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership Meetup Series” for more real life experience training, entrepreneurship development and mentorship. It’s free and open for anyone.

Contact me now.


2 thoughts on “Can Namibia Realize Full Employment Without Foreign Direct Investment?

  1. Pingback: Can Namibia Realize Full Employment Without Foreign Direct … | namibia today

  2. now this is classic, yes namibia lack serial enterpreneur with that go getter spirit to seek and find this type of opportunity, i think the GRN need to do more about the support system that help enterpreneurs to have that drive and get financial resources and other, set a platform where enterpreneurs from different industries, countries and background can come together to share ideas and how to grab diffent opportunities together and so forth. I remember you was once proposing such a meet serie where enterpreneurs should come together somewhere in whk. If the GRN can embrace the same forum and market it well it will make a very big difference. “enterpreneurship is the engine for all the economies” that should be a starting point especialy with developing countries, if you have this and fundamental education you will never go wrong

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