Africa should carry youths, women along-Chikwanda

Alexanda Chikwanda

AFRICAN countries have an inescapable obligation to ensure that their efforts of promoting economic growth and reducing poverty fully engage youths, women and small businesses, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has said.
Mr Chikwanda said youths, women and small businesses were the most dynamic elements of any economy that wished to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic development upon which social justices were embedded.
He was speaking in Livingstone at Zambezi Sun Hotel yesterday when he officially opened the second annual Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) regional meeting for Africa.
“In spite of the country record of impressive rate of economic growth and stable macro-economic environment, characterised by low inflation, strong foreign direct investment inflows and a relatively stable exchange rate, Zambia still has a challenge in creating jobs and reducing poverty.
“Our formal sector in Zambia remains small, employing around 14 per cent of the labour force,” Mr Chikwanda said.
The core objectives of the conference include promoting financial inclusion for the youth as well as economic citizenship education that addresses areas of financial, social and livelihood education.
The minister said one of the milestones in the implementation of the strategy had been the revision of the school syllabus to enhance financial education content and coverage, saying the enhanced syllabus was expected to be rolled out in 2014.
Speaking at the same function, Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Government Michael Gondwe said the importance of financial literacy among children and youths could not be over-emphasised.
Dr Gondwe said Zambia managed to reach more than 5, 000 pupils during the first Global Money Week held from March 15 to 21, this year.
CYFI managing director Jeroo Billimoria said about 150 participants from 15 African countries as well as from five countries beyond the continent were attending the conference in Zambia’s tourist capital.
Ms Billimoria said the theme for the gathering was “Reshaping the Future of Finance” and it would see a comprehensive programme of action oriented workshops and plenary sessions covering different tracks in addition to a number of distinguished keynote speakers.