UNEMPLOYMENT is the biggest challenge young people in Zambia are facing, said Anna Chibwana, a youth representative during this year’s Youth Day commemorations yesterday in Lusaka.
And Youths and Sports minister Vincent Mwale said Government was committed to addressing the challenges faced by youths in Zambia.
Ms. Chibwana, who is member of the Girl Guides Association of Zambia, said while the 2012 labour force survey put youth unemployment rate at 10 percent, the survey was not a true reflection of the real unemployment rate in the country which was high.
The event was officiated by Acting President Ngosa Simbyakula who read the speech on behalf of President Edgar Lungu.
President Lungu is in South Africa where he is being treated for a medical condition.
She said most of the young people were on the streets and could not find decent employment despite graduating from universities and colleges.
“Unemployment is the biggest challenge that we face, Your Excellency. While the 2012 labour survey put youth unemployment rate at 10 percent, it is not the true reflection of the real unemployment rate which is very high. Most of us are on the streets and cannot find decent employment despite graduating from universities and colleges. Therefore, we appeal to you sir to prioritise employment creation,” said Ms. Chibwana.
She said the PF Government and President Edgar Lungu in particular should scale up youths entrepreneurship as this would enable young people venture into income generating activities that would sustain them.
Ms Chibwana said Government should realise that youths today were not like youths of yesterday who depended on handouts.
“We are asking for youth friendly financial services, access to markets, preferential procurement t in Government and parastatals, provision of intermediary services and other support services that will accelerated youth economic empowerment,” Ms. Chibwana said.
She said Government should also consider empowering youths with land for agriculture among other ventures to address youths and unemployment.
Ms Chibwana said Government should also complete the construction of universities and other training facilities to make education and training skills accessible and affordable for all Zambians.
And Mr Mwale said Government was committed to addressing the challenges youths in Zambia were facing.
Mr. Mwale said youths should reflect deeply on the economic emancipation of the country adding that hard work was key to sustainable development and ending the high unemployment levels the country was facing.
“This is a call for young people to take a centre stage in the development cycle of the country. This is an opportunity for the youths of Zambia to reflect and see what they can do. I want to challenge them too to emulate the forefathers who fought tribalism. They should not be used for political battles. Let’s reject tribal talks and concentrate on fighting poverty and unemployment.”