Home » Human Rights » Addressing Youth Unemployment in Zim

According to a 2014 World Bank report, 11 million young people are expected to enter Africa’s labour market every year for the next decade.

The report says despite rapid growth in formal sector jobs, the majority of these youths are likely to work on household enterprises, often with very low incomes.

“To boost young people’s earnings, governments need to hasten overall business climate reforms, strengthen basic education, and make land infrastructure, training and financing for small business more accessible,” it says.

Experts say with close to 300 million people aged between 15 and 35 (the youth bracket) in African countries, including Zimbabwe, have a huge challenge when it comes to coping with the young and growing generation. Faced with this daunting task, government need to craft policies that ensure industry begins to perform again.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education should especially make young people prepared and acquainted with the demands of industry as they leave the education system into the job market.

Zimbabwe, like many countries across Africa, has the youngest population in the world. For young people the biggest predicament after finishing their academic years is the thought of what their future holds. The indigenisation policy has been a great instrument to fight unemployment and when fully implemented, it has potential to absorb youths through the Employee Share Ownership Schemes, the Community Share Ownership Schemes and the Youth Empowerment Funds.

Current efforts by government through the recently launched revised National Youth Policy, the KureraUkondla Youth Fund with CABS, the Wealth Creation Fund with Stanbic Bank, CBZ and IDBZ has been visible.

What is needed on the other hand are young people who have the capacity to take up the opportunities, become profitable and pay back the loans extended to them by Government through various activities. Youths must be enterprising and organised and able to return real value to the economy in the process creating employment for other young people.

The job of Government is clearly cut out: policies must be passed — policies that are practical and that can get young people back on the job. The education sector through the ministries responsible need to introduce skills training that are relevant to the needs of industry. Vocational training centres must be well funded so they can take up a more prominent role of delivering trained young people who are ready for industry. Globally, Zimbabwe stands at 150 in the rankings of 189 economies on the ease of starting a business. This clearly shows the need for youths to be assisted and capacitated in the area of business start-up. The macroeconomic environment, that includes tax utilities and the registrar of companies, need to be supportive and user friendly especially to young entrepreneurs.

The World Bank indicates that economies around the world have taken steps making it easier to start a business, streamlining procedures by setting up one-stop shops, making procedures simpler and faster by introducing technology and reducing or eliminating minimum capital requirements.

Many countries have undertaken business registration reforms in stages and they often are part of a larger regulatory reform programme. Among the benefits have been greater firm satisfaction and savings and more registered businesses, financial resources and job opportunities. The Zimbabwean job market needs to get ahead of the bunch in SADC and deliver a sustainable plan of action for 2014. Youth unemployment remains a barrier to the region’s development. Some of the highest rates on the continent are in southern Africa, where 51 percent of young women and 43 percent of young men are unemployed.

This large unemployed population indicates lost potential since communities and nations fail to benefit from what the young people could theoretically contribute.

The World Economic Forum has challenged governments, the private sector, and international donors to pursue integrated, comprehensive policies and strategies that create jobs for young people and improve the transition between school and work. Some of the recommended strategies include:

Introduction of government policies that improve labour standards and social protection for youth, such as acceptable wages and work conditions.

Introduction of programmes that target specific youth populations, like disaantaged young women, to boost their skills and employability.

Introduction of second-chance education for individuals with low or no foundation skills.

Decision makers need to listen to the voices of young people and allow opportunities for dialogue.

Improving the ability to measure the mismatch between what youth know and what employers need and addressing it.

Provision of funding and support systems to young entrepreneurs.

Source : The Herald

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