At a glance
Namibia is one of the middle-income countries in Africa, but its income distribution is very uneven. The unemployment rate – especially among youth and young adults – is a major challenge for the country. In recent years, economic growth in Namibia has been very weak, and the high national debt allows little intervention by the state.
Due to a lack of government support, the few existing small and micro enterprises hardly have any expertise in the digital sector and cannot create enough employment opportunities to relieve the labour market. In addition, the level of training is low. As a result, the few digital companies not only lack qualified personnel, but innovations rarely reach market maturity and many start-ups fail in the launch phase.
Although the Namibian government has anchored the promotion of start-ups and the growth of start-ups centrally in both the development plan of the Office of the President and the National Development Plan, the conditions for companies are still very much in need of improvement. The country has only rudimentary support structures in place – although some approaches are certainly promising.
Against this background, the Digital Transformation Center Namibia aims to improve the conditions for the establishment and development of companies in selected Namibian regions. They can create new jobs, provide impetus for innovation, and contribute both to strengthening competition and to economic growth.
The goal of German development cooperation is to enable a sustainable, human-centered and self-determined digital transformation in Namibia. In close cooperation with the German development project StartUp Namibia, the center’s focus will be on digital innovation challenges, improving digital skills and strengthening the digital ecosystem through pan-African networking. The formulated goal is to improve the framework conditions for the establishment and growth of start-ups in selected regions of Namibia.
As part of the COVID-19 relief measures 2019, the Digital Transformation Center Namibia supported over 600 startups with subsidies of 15,000 Namibian dollars per company to cushion the effects of the Corona pandemic. In this effort, 1,600 small businesses received additional hygiene kits and personal protection equipment, enabling them to operate safely during the pandemic. In addition, 16 collaborative agreements were signed with stakeholders to improve services for start-ups, reach young businesses in different regions of the country, and ensure financial sustainability from the Basecamp project. In 2020, more than 430 entrepreneurs (50% women) have used the Basecamp’s services and participated in programs, workshops, and bootcamps. To date, 10 start-ups have received seed funding of up to €5,000 per company from Start-up Namibia’s Slingshot Fund to sustainably develop their innovative approaches.