HARARE, July 18 — Zimbabwe’s Vice-President Joice Mujuru has urged the country’s youth to repay the loans which they have received from financial institutions in order that other youth would continue to receive assistance.

Mujuru, who was officiating at a two-day youth conference here Thursday, encouraged the youth to use productively the funds that they borrow for business purposes. “Always remember to pay back your loans so that the next person in the queue can equally benefit,” she said.

The conference is being held under the theme “Re-aligning the youth sector towards skills development and poverty reduction”.

Mujuru’s call follows recent revelations by banks tasked with disbursing the 20 million US dollar government-initiated Youth Development Fund that most of the youth who benefited from the initiative were not
repaying the loans.

The fund is meant to support various projects aimed at empowering youth with a view towards eradicating poverty.

The Central African Building Society, which registered a default rate of 78 per cent after disbursing 5.0 million USD, has since suspended allocations under the fund as it tries to come up with new strategies to improve the repayment rate.

Mujuru urged the youth to be patient and learn from the wise counsel of their elders. “Our youth, they are in a hurry to make money and they do not care how they make it, which is a real disaster,” she said. “Let us take our time. Building those blocks takes time.”

Mujuru said the government prioritised youth development issues to ensure that it addressed the needs of the group which makes up over 67 per cent of the country’s population.

She said it was critical for the youth to identify specific skills development areas where they needed support while encouraging them to improve their knowledge and usage of information communication technology (ICT). “Explore the use of ICT in a productive manner because ICT can create endless possibilities in the youth sector,” she said.