Zim youths optimistic of brighter future

By Charity Ruzvidzo

Zimbabwean youths have high expectations of economic, social and political development in the country following the swearing in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa two weeks ago.

Those aged between 15 and 35 years in Zimbabwe fall under the youth demographic and constitute 38.5 percent of the total population.

Youths are dynamic, energetic and revolutionary.

In his inauguration speech, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans should prepare to work hard towards the revival of the country’s economy.

“It is no longer business as usual as we intend to work with every progressive individual, nation and investor to rebuild the Zimbabwean economy. This is the time to make Zimbabwe great again, never again should Zimbabwe be placed in circumstances that it currently finds itself in. We can’t squander this opportunity as we seek to ensure that all that we do is intended to benefit all of us,” he said.

“It is the new government’s key choice to attract foreign direct investment, create jobs, develop key infrastructure and provide basic social services such as education, clean water and energy, among others. In the immediate, the liquidity challenges must be tackled head on; people should be able to access their earnings and savings as at when they want them. The bottom line is an economy back on its feet,” said President Mnangagwa.

A snap survey done by The Southern Times in Harare indicated that most young people were hopeful of economic development in the country.

“We are looking forward to working together with President Mnangagwa in creating a better Zimbabwe. Change is a process; we do not expect it to happen instantly. As young people, we are ready to assist in the process of rebuilding our country,” said Takudzwa Marufu, a Psychology Studies graduate from Midlands State University.

Marufu said the new government should increase youth’s participation in key areas that affect the country’s growth.

“It would benefit the country immensely if young people are also involved in strategic areas that have a bearing on the country’s development. Not only will young people be groomed but they will also bring forth their perspectives on how to develop the country,” said Marufu.

Pepukai Musvuugwa (25) from Marlborough in Harare applauded President Mnangagwa for his stance to work towards developing Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation.

“Youth funds should not be partisan, all youths should benefit despite the parties they are affiliated to. This will avoid a system that keeps funding the same people while others are left out,” she said.

Meanwhile, Thokozile Mbira (25) from Avondale, Harare, said it was important to ensure full land utilisation to foster agricultural growth.

“We need to have a system where land is fully utilised.  Those producing below capacity should give it back to government or seek assistance. This way the command agriculture programme will fully thrive,” she said.

Bernard Chipato (27) called for the unemployment menace to be addressed in the country.

“The greatest challenge young people are facing in Zimbabwe is that of high rates of unemployment. We have young entrepreneurs who are struggling due to policies that are not conducive. We need this to be addressed through the resuscitation of industries and implementation of friendly policies that encourage growth,” said Chipato.

According to a survey conducted by the International Labour Organisation youths in Zimbabwe were classified among the world’s poorest.

The survey titled “World Employment and Social Outlook 2016: Trends for Youth,” revealed that Zimbabwe is in the 75 to 100 category, which relates to working youths experiencing difficult working environment.

It estimated that 20 percent of youths in the 18 to 24 age group are not able to secure employment.

Despite the many challenges that Zimbabweans have faced over the years, it is hard to ignore their zeal to work hard and turn around their country.

The issue of youth unemployment is also a major challenge in other African countries.

It is associated with rapid population growth rates, structural issues specific to individual member states, low levels of education and skills required to access jobs within member states in the region and internationally.

Political analysts say Africa must invest in its people, provide them with education, good health, infrastructure and skills for them to be competitive with the developed world.

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