THE 2015 National Youth Policy and the National Plan of Action for the 2015 Youth Policy have been launched with President Edgar Lungu projecting that about 500 000 decent jobs would be created by the end of 2016 to curb the scourge of youth unemployment.
The President said the launch of the National Youth Policy and the National Plan of Action marked the end of the era of politics that promoted handouts and rhetoric which he said only succeeded in scoring short-term political mileage at the expense of sustainable economic development.
President Lungu said there would be no meanigful development in the country if the youths who made up the majority of the country’s population were not given the opportunities to play the key role in the economic expansion of the country.
The President said through the implementation of national apprenticeship and internship and the expansion of low interest credit facilities that would target new and growing youth-led businesses, it was possible for the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to actualise the creation of 500,000 jobs for the youths in the country.
The Head of State directed all line ministries and sectors to start offering preferential treatment to qhalified youth-led enterprises in awarding of contracts as well as in the public procurement process.
President Lungu has since directed all State and non-State actors in the country to immediately start mainstreaming youth empowerment programmes at all levels if youth unemployment was going to be effectively dealt with.
The Head of State has also directed all ministries, provinces and spending agencies and other stakeholders to provide updated reports on the number of decent and sustainable employment and empowerment opportunities created for the youths in their respected sectors.
President Lungu stated that youth was a cross-cutting issue hence the need to mainstream their concerns and employment needs throughout Government and non-government programmes and activities.
The President challenged the youths across the country to reflect on their obligations, responsibilities and contributions towards national development.
He said youths should have moments of introspection as a precursor to all their actions on whether they were part of the problem or solution to the various challenges the country was facing.
And the United Nations (UN) said the young generation was the biggest asset Zambia had to exponentially fulfil the desire of sustainably developing the economy.
Ms Rogan said although Zambia’s youth population was of mixed demographic measures, the challenges they were facing were common ranging from sexual crimes such as defilement which have often resulted to increased HIV infections and teenage pregnancies.
She said despite the challenges facing the youths, the yough generation represented the country’s greatest asset to the country’s unlocking of its economic development potential.