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Youths want big role in economic growth

YOUNG people are determined to contribute more to the country’s economic development and have lobbied the Government and private sector to scale up support towards growing young businesses including a quota system that accommodates the youths in the awarding of big tenders.

With thousands of youths taking advantage of numerous opportunities created under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is steadily growing its domestic economic base with strides mainly in mining, manufacturing, farming, transport and logistics, tourism and ICTs, among other sectors.

While huge opportunities exist for the youths to start their businesses and generate income, many believe they could do more for the economy if given adequate support to grow their business.

Mr Bukhosi Ncube, who runs Bit Bag Zimbabwe Mining and Agriculture Packaging, said the youth have shown capacity to contribute to economic growth, but still face hurdles that limit their potential.

“I think given more support, young people are more innovative, and they contribute immensely to economic growth and even employ other young people,” he said.

“The Government should create through Parliament quota systems on awarding of tenders for youths. Many times, young people led companies try to tender for certain jobs but they are left out mainly because they don’t have the capacity compared to some multi-million dollar companies.”

Mr Ncube had been lucky that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce supported his business, which has enabled him to win a tender with one of the giant cement producers in the country.

He said more needed to be done to mainstream youth lead business into the economy, and that would have more benefits downstream.

Ahead of Wednesday’s commemorations of the National Youth Day in Masvingo, Mr Ncube said the Government should take deliberate steps to educate young people on business and career opportunities.

Farai Pyro Energy Zimbabwe chief executive, Mr Farai Musendo, whose company is involved in the use of green energy, said young people are highly versatile and are active players in the economic growth.

Some of the young people had contributed to import substitution as they were manufacturing products that were previously imported from South Africa or other countries.

But despite their intellectual capacity and being highly productive, financial constraints still inhibit their full potential.

“Young people can produce products of high quality but when it comes to the awarding of tenders, most of the time we don’t make it. Bigger companies win tenders and maybe to include young people and their expertise in some of the projects, the Government should consider a quota system in awarding tenders,” he said.

“There should be a youth quota and a women’s quota. It would go a long way in promoting inclusive economic development.”

Mr Musendo challenged youthful entrepreneurs to mainstream their economic activities saying there is a misconception among young people about running businesses professionally. For instance, Mr Musendo said, registering a company can be done online.

Pusheka Girl, a women-led youth organisation advocating the empowerment of young women has said more collaboration is needed in the empowerment of youths.

Pusheka Girl spokesperson Ms Lungile Ngwenya said there was a need to provide vocational skills, especially for the less academically gifted youths.

“So, that is where we come in to provide skills development training for young women in areas such as beauty therapy courses. At the same time, we teach about financial literacy. However, we believe more needs to be done to support the girl child,” she said.

“As a women-led organisation, we endeavour to create more opportunities for young people but we need the Government’s support. We might be a Bulawayo-based organisation but we want to have a partnership so that we can even support rural girls and provide them with skills,”

Ms Ngwenya said the National Youth Day needed to be taken seriously considering that a majority of the country’s citizens are young people.

Matabeleland South National Assembly youth quota representative Cde Tinashe Mushipe said there is a lot that the youths had to celebrate as the country marked this year’s National Youth Day.

Youths had significantly benefited from development that had been rolled out by the Second Republic.

“As a youth from Matabeleland South and a representative of the youth, I would like to thank the Second Republic for the work it has done to empower the youths. The youth have remained on the top of the agenda for the Government’s development drive,” he said.

“Our youth have benefited from mining with some mining projects being set aside specifically for the youths.

“We have youths who have benefited from the agricultural sector. Some have been allocated heifers and some have been given land and this has helped to ensure that the youths are empowered and have a source of livelihood.

“There are a number of income-generating projects that the youths are benefiting from in their communities. Government has also set deliberate policies to ensure that youths are not left out.”

Cde Mushipe said under the Second Republic, finance schemes had been set up, which had enabled youths to access funding to start their own companies either as individuals or consortiums.

Gwanda Rural District Council member under the women’s quota Cde Linda Moyo the Second Republic has empowered youths to occupy key positions in governance.

She said numerous opportunities were open for young women as well as young men. As such, Cde Moyo said the Second Republic’s inclusive development drive was a clear indication that the Government values the input of youths and is concerned about their welfare as part of efforts to leave no one and no place behind.

Herald

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