Evaluating the effectiveness of youth microfinance programmes in Namibia.
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The 2012 Labour Force Survey (LFS) in Namibia reveals that unemployment among the youth stands at a staggering 42.8% compared to the overall unemployment rate of 27%which remains a challenge in itself in this country. Attempts to alleviate youth poverty worldwide caused by unemployment have been done through micro finance programmes that can help the youth to accumulate their own capital and invest in employment-generating activities. While there is sufficient evidence to prove the existence of several microfinance programmes, there is a lack of evidence of their effectiveness in improving youth’s livelihoods. Therefore the researcher seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the Credit for Youth in Business (CYB) Programme and the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme (NYCS), finance programmes that have been set out to target youth between the ages of 18-35 years in Namibia. The researcher obtained primary information from 100 beneficiaries of CYB and NYCS through a questionnaire and from interviews conducted with programme stakeholders. The secondary information was further obtained through programme documents and literature review. Although there is significant impact on the livelihoods of youth as revealed by the study, micro financing programmes should look beyond micro-loans, training and extend their service delivery to areas such as market linkages, investments and insurance. They also ought to assist youth with feasibility studies, markets and business premises. Provision of these services will ensure that youth move from informal (micro enterprises) to formal enterprises. Considering the prevailing unemployment rate it is recommended to assess challenges, opportunities and possibilities for building synergies for transformation of the Credit for Youth in Business Programme and Namibia Youth Credit Scheme into one fund in order to provide a range of financial solutions and services that can support the full spectrum of youth owned enterprises.
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