President calls on policy makers to urgently address socio-economic challenges
President Pohamba, who was speaking at the launch of the Basic Report of the 2011 Namibia Population and Housing Census in the capital, said that challenges facing the country include unemployment, poverty, soci-economic inequalities, skills shortages and a narrow industrial base.
The report provides information about population dynamics, which influence every aspect of social and economic development and is considered to be a vital tool in the process of planning for national development policies, programmes and initiatives.
“Our short, medium and long term development initiatives are aimed at addressing these challenges, therefore policy makers, civil servants and other stakeholders must pay particular attention to the analysis contained in this report,” said the President, adding that this will go a long way in enabling the nation to initiate effective interventions aimed at improving the living conditions of the population and overcoming current and future development challenges.
According to the President,the fact that 16% of the population lives in shacks or improvised housing units is a great source of concern adding that the situation needs to be addressed urgently.
The report states that the country’s labour force stands at 66% compared to 54% in the last census conducted in 2001. However, statistics show that the unemployment rate has increased from 31% in 2001 to 37 % in 2011. About 25% of unemployed people has not completed primary school and those with no formal education constitutes around 14% of all unemployed people.
However, with the free universal primary education having been implemented in 2013, the rate of eduaction is expected to have improved come the next census. President Pohamba applauded the government of Zimbabwe for providing skilled workers to Namibia in many sectors such as education.
Under ‘Access to Information’ radio is still the leading medium with a penetration ratio of 69% followed by cell phone at 53%, television at 37% while 25% of the population receives its information through newspapers.
In the household and income area, wages and salaries were reported to be the most frequent main source of income in the country with 48% followed by farming at 16% and old age pension at 14%. Non-farming business activities was reported to be 12%.
As many of the country’s population reside in the northern areas, many households are engaged in agricultural activities. At national level, crop farming is the most common activity reported to be 32.8% followed by livestock farming at 25.1%. It is reported that at least 57% of households in rural areas are involved in crop farming with livestock farming at 42%. Ohangwena region reported the highest crop farming activities followed by Omusati and Oshikoto regions.
Poor sanitation and inadequate access to safe water are public health concerns which can create conditions conducive to the spread of diseases. The report indicates that even though 59% of rural housegolds have access to safe water, 16% rely on unsafe water from rivers or streams and another 13% rely on unsafe water from unprotected wells. The results indicate that 49% of households do not have access to ablution facilities.
The President said the report provides vital information for policy makers and to government offices, ministries and agencies for planning purposes and for the provision of basic services such as health care and education facilities. In addition to the Basic Report, a number of Thematic reports will be produced and released at a later stage.