Nuyoma on learning for development
The University of Namibia’s Northern Campus launched a new degree programme in business development and development studies on 3 November. As patron of the programme, I have a keen interest in its progression and success. I am sharing my views presented at the launch, because of the relevance of the matter for Namibia.
In 1949, Harry Truman said: “For the first time in history, humanity possess the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of the people.” The essence of development studies is to move beyond the conventional field of economic study by recognising the complexity of development and its socio-political and economic dimensions. Development studies is a multi-disciplinary subject involving a multitude of fields in the social sciences.
Development studies create a new understanding about social, political and economic development issues in a society. It covers development theories, industrial policy, demographic studies, women and gender studies, migration studies, social policy and public health among others.
Graduates in this field can choose careers in international organisations such as the United Nations, government, local authorities, the private sector, and research institutions.
Development studies graduates have the potential to have greater appreciation of the prevailing social and economic conditions at local authority level and can contribute to the design of development strategies that meet the needs of the people in concrete terms.
Similarly, at the central government level, graduates can contribute significantly to policy formulation that addresses bread and butter issues as well as issues related to the full spectrum of the complexities of development.
Another field of study that offers an important understanding to commerce and to the question of sustainable development, is business development. Here, graduates can contribute to development of business growth strategies that will impact the economy as a whole.
The benefits are derived in the form of the development and entry of new markets. Business development teaches us how to attract customers and researches new business prospects, relating to both product development and the introduction of services.
Ultimately, business development graduates can participate in a range of careers, including the marketing of businesses, in sales departments and also in research and development of new business models.
Business development has become an imperative in today’s world where competition in the marketplace is cut-throat and requires constant re-thinking, re-engineering and adjustment. These are constant factors in business today.
It is not relevant for big corporates only, but also for small and medium enterprises. Businesses that cannot afford to employ business development managers or officers on a full time basis should consider contracting these services.
Development is often associated with funding, but if the financial resource is not matched with the skills to use those funds to sustainable ends, any investment made will not be sustainable. The new degree programme sets out to provide the pool of human assets that will make development sustainable.
Namibia has made great social and technological advances in the past ten years in particular as it was able to leapfrog the digital divide through the application of new technologies and business models.
Imagine the potential that can be unlocked if we have a group of people focusing their efforts on providing local solutions to the development challenges facing Namibia today.