KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries need to fully exploit opportunities in key sectors of the economy to meet the demand of the growing youth labour force to create more sustainable jobs.
UNECA executive secretary Vera Songwe said building a strong industrial base is also essential and includes addressing the skills mismatch and gaps to develop a robust global workforce.
Ms Songwe said at the 37th SADC heads of state and government summit on Saturday that UNECA is ready to deepen its collaboration with SADC and stands ready to provide technical and advisory support to address challenges faced by the region.
“To meet the demands of the burgeoning youth labour force, SADC countries must fully exploit the natural growth creators of jobs such as construction in the housing sector fuelled by urbanisation and population growth,” Ms Songwe said.
She observed that due to rapid urbanisation, efforts to deepen trade and investment ties among African countries through regional integration should be enhanced.
Ms Songwe said leveraging the continent’s young population and a growing labour force to facilitate domestic resource mobilisation are among the ingredients for Africa’s success.
“It is necessary to have some consistency of service provision across the region, which would encourage skills mobility and business activities across the region,” she said.
Ms Songwe said UNECA is privileged to collaborate with the SADC Secretariat and to work bilaterally with the member states in the region on capacity-building initiatives.