We heard last week how Zambia has 28% youth unemployment from the international NGO Junior Achievement. Sadly this does not come as much of a surprise and unless Government does something about it then the prospects of reducing this are low.
Job creation is one of my top priorities if elected President. Now I want to provide some explanation about how I hope to achieve that.
There are two main reasons why people don’t have jobs, one is that there aren’t enough jobs and the other is that we are not providing our children and youths with the right education and skills training so that they can get a job. We must address both these reasons.
My approach will be centred on 1. Good economic management, 2.Youth Empowerment, and 3. Education and training reform.
Firstly, good economic management is fundamental to job creation. This means no more reckless borrowing and no more waste. It also means introducing policies that incentivise the growth of local businesses and encourage investment. This will lead to more jobs being created, and increased government revenues that we can then invest in education and training.
Secondly, I want to focus on youth empowerment. We need to empower those with business ideas to go out there and make them happen. This means providing support through increasing access to relevant training and affordable credit.
Thirdly, we need to revisit the school curriculum and review training opportunities on offer to youths so that they have the right skills to find work or start in business by the time they leave school or university. This process will take a long time to finish but we can get started in January 2015.
Finally, I want to stress that we must work towards a situation where all Zambians, regardless of their gender or tribe have the same opportunities available to them in terms of education and training. Job vacancies must be filled according to merit and using open procedures.
The challenge ahead of us should not be underestimated, but if we come together and rally behind this approach I believe we can make a difference.