THE Zambian Government has pledged to continue placing youths at the core of sustainable development, as they comprise a significant percentage of the country’s population.
Government has urged youths to constantly collaborate with Government, business entities and civil society to create employment and address the many challenges they face.
Youth and Sport Deputy Minister Ronald Chitotela says the challenges facing youths are similar worldwide and require concerted efforts from all stakeholders to address them.
Chitotela said this when he addressed the 2015 Junior Chamber International (JCI) Global Partnership summit under the theme Collaborating for a Sustainable Future at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters on July 30, 2015.
The deputy minister observed that since about 45.5 per cent of Zambians were youths, Government had placed them at the core of sustainable development.
“Zambia has endeavoured to improve the status of our youths through increasing investments in education, particularly at secondary and tertiary level to improve on enrolments, as well as quality training to impart development skills so that education becomes relevant to our young people of today,” he said.
He said other strides were being made by investing in infrastructure development, including construction of sports facilities that would keep the youths actively engaged in development process.
Mr Chitotela noted that making youths productive would deter them from engaging in vices detrimental to their lives.
Among the initiatives that would improve the ratio of working adults to the youths, are youth empowerment funds to assist youths in all the 10 provinces in Zambia with seed capital for income-generation activities.
Other initiatives include reviewing the national youth policy, which has taken into account the new and emerging issues that affect youths and provided measures that empower young people through various initiatives.
Mr Chitotela said demographic dividends that would ensure the ratio of working adults and youths increased were being harnessed.
He said the Government’s initiatives could not be achieved in isolation.
“These efforts demand for participation and collaboration with all stakeholders including the private sector, cooperating partners and civil society.
“This is why we support the JCI initiative as it opens the doors to further champion the cause of the youth, particularly in the areas of education and skills development, health and job creation,” Mr Chitotela said.
He said the youths seek quality education, quality health services and decent jobs, and called on young people to take advantage of various youth empowerment programmes at their disposal that promote growth, prosperity, and an eco-friendly environment.
“Young people can work with their respective Governments, business leaders, and civil societies to promote youth employment and enterprise development such as replication of sustainable youth entrepreneurship initiatives, skills development, and other development practices that are environmentally friendly. “They can collaborate with their civic leaders and promote patriotism in order to prevent internal conflicts, and can engage and promote good health habits for, and amongst themselves, to prevent premature deaths from both communicable and non-communicable diseases,” he said. According to Mr Chitotela, a sustainable future depends on young people working with Governments, civil society, and the global community in promoting peace and security, which is an ingredient of development.
“Therefore, a summit of this magnitude must be able to support the engagement and empowerment of young people to be actively involved in conflict prevention, resolution, and peace-building processes and initiatives,” he said.
Mr Chitotela encouraged youths to network and share best practices, knowledge, skills and experiences that promote peace and prosperity.
The 2015 JCI Global Partnership Summit, organiZed by JCI in partnership with the office of the Secretary-General’s special envoy on youth, took place from July 28 to 31, 2015.
Discussions focused on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.
JCI is a non-profit organisation of young active citizens aged between 18 and 40 years who are committed to creating a positive impact in their communities.- Feature courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.