Namibia's Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila File picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP
INTERNATIONAL - The Namibian government has reserved certain projects for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to stimulate their participation in the economy, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Sunday.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said her government has taken the deliberate policy shift to empower SMEs so as to help them better cope with rampant competition from larger conglomerates and create the much-needed jobs.

In the previous year alone, the government released 266 million Namibian dollars ($18 million) to finance SMEs through the Development Bank of Namibia, which created more than 300 permanent and part-time jobs, according to the prime minister.

She said intervention is needed to stimulate growth in the face of a prolonged recession, which has made the economic situation in Namibia very tough.

The prime minister said the SMEs sector is a strong conveyor belt for economic emancipation for locals and also drives job creation among the youths.

Latest data from Namibia Statistics Agency showed that youth unemployment in the country stands at 44 percent.