THE problem of youth unemployment in Zambia is a vexing one. Year in and year out, statistics show that the number of unemployed youths is
on the increase.
In an effort to address it, Government has usually come up with initiatives such as enabling the youths to access loans so that they can start their own ventures.
While some of those who have given a go at the loans have succeeded, others have failed, maybe due to misapplication of finances or going for the wrong projects.
On the other hand, many graduates from higher institutions of learning roam the streets for years, hunting for jobs from one office to another.
In the process, the jobless youth are left out of the development process, in which they could otherwise participate if they are engaged in gainful employment.
It is in view of this that we applaud the University of Zambia, through the Department of Economics, for embarking on a two-year project to find solutions for the problem of youth unemployment.
A university, the world over, is a reservoir of knowledge and in taking this step, it is trying to get to the bottom of the problem and help come up with solutions. This is the place of the higher learning institution in the community.
Because of the high calibre of minds behind the university, members of the community look up to the institution for solutions.
The project is being undertaken in conjunction with the Africa Migration and Development Policy Centre in Nairobi and it includes Malawi, Kenya and Uganda.
The project also aims to find out why immigrant youths tend to succeed more than their local counterparts, who have a number of privileges at their disposal.
A number of local youths claim they engage in unworthy activities like beer drinking because they have nothing to do and it leaves the mind wondering how their immigrant counterparts within days of arriving in the country become successful at their ventures.
These are some of the issues the project will seek to examine, delve into and seek to find what opportunities are available and why the local youths fail to see them.
There are a number of opportunities for the youth. Government’s thrust towards diversification is a starting point for the youth.
The agricultural sector offers a number of opportunities for the youth to be engaged in gainful employment, whether self-employed or otherwise.
On its part, Government has created an enabling environment for the youth to come up with ideas of creating jobs for themselves and seize these opportunities to create wealth for themselves and the country.
It is commendable that a university is taking the lead in examining the issues of youth unemployment so that the findings are passed on to policy-makers.
Government works in collaboration with other institutions in formulating policies. This project lays groundwork to guide in the formulation of a policy.
We expect an institution like a university to get to the bottom of the problem of unemployment so that our nation can find solutions that will help create jobs for the youth.
The involvement of the youth in wealth creation is cardinal. They have the energy and zeal to work. They still have the ability to learn skills that may be passed on to them by the experienced employees.
In short, the world looks up to the younger people to move the country forward because they will do this for a longer time to come.
We are hopeful that the findings will help Government to offer the youth better opportunities for employment and make them active partners in wealth creation.