MANCOSA’s Namibia office hosted a business breakfast recently at the Kalahari Sands Hotel in Windhoek.
The gathering saw alumni, MBA students and academics converge to network and engage with business leaders. It was aimed at stakeholder engagement and leading discussion around the pertinent higher education issue of skills development.
The Managing Director of Old Mutual’s Africa Operations, Mr Johannes Gawaxab delivered a keynote address on the higher education landscape in Namibia and the role business can play in attending to this challenge.
Mr Gawaxab indicated that there was a profound disconnect between employer’s skills needs and the skills being meted out to the workforce at present. “In 2013, 26% of sub-Saharan African university students graduated in ‘Education, Humanity & Arts’, compared with 4% in ‘Engineering, manufacturing and construction’ and 2% in ‘Agriculture’. This despite agriculture contributing to on average 25% of Africa’s GDP and engineers having better employment opportunities with resource economies especially needing skilled engineers.
“This disconnect between the skills needed and those cultivated causes workers and businesses to lose out on realizing their full potential which ultimately causes the economy to fall short of its potential,” said Mr Gawaxab.
To sustain growth and development Namibia and the SADC region must address this mismatch. He viewed business as a symbiotic partner in training and development who should impart information to those operating in the education and training sectors.
“I would like to commend MANCOSA for hosting this breakfast meeting. I hope that it is not first and the last. We need platforms similar to this to share ideas and broaden our views. I am told that MANCOSA has been offering various certificates, diplomas, degrees and postgraduate courses in Namibia for more than 10 years, but only in a distance mode.
“In the light of the topic of today, I implore this esteemed organisation to enhance its presence and broaden its footprint in Namibia by considering fulltime offerings and operations outside Windhoek. Most importantly, consider putting emphasis on skills development to help address the skills shortage in Namibia and the SADC region as a whole, “ added Mr Gawaxab.