Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Ma­jaha Nkonyane

OVER 2 000 pupils in­clud­ing those from ru­ral ar­eas have ben­e­fited in this year’s Ju­nior Achieve­ment pro­grammes.

This was com­mended by Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Sibu­siso Dlamini dur­ing the JA an­nual Na­tional Expo held yes­ter­day.

He lauded JA for con­tin­u­ing to cham­pion en­trepreneur­ship coun­try­wide, es­pe­cially in the ru­ral parts of the king­dom.

He noted that the com­pe­ti­tion had 50 per cent par­tic­i­pa­tion from the top ten schools which were from the ru­ral ar­eas and that they par­tic­i­pated by merit and not by de­sign.

“It is very im­pres­sive that in the pro­gramme we have seen an in­crease in par­tic­i­pa­tion from ru­ral schools, there are 2 000 pupils from 40 schools in this year’s three pro­grammes which in­clude fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy, en­trepreneur­ship, and the Job Shadow pro­grammes,” he said.


Of th­ese, he said at least about 63 per cent came from the ru­ral parts of the coun­try.

Dlamini said this de­vel­op­ment was crit­i­cal as the coun­try has been en­cour­aged to fo­cus on the wel­fare and em­ploy­ment of the youth as they were the fu­ture lead­ers of the coun­try.

“If the coun­try ne­glects the youth there are con­se­quences that come with it which in­clude, mass un­em­ploy­ment, weak econ­omy and a mis­er­able pop­u­la­tion,” he said.

He said the un­em­ploy­ment rate among the youth needs to be re­solved.

“It is not sur­pris­ing there­fore that one of the prom­i­nent themes of the African Union (AU) is ‘Har­ness­ing the de­mo­graphic div­i­dend through in­vest­ing in the youth’. It is what, in morden ver­nac­u­lar, is called “a no­brainer,” he said.

Dlamini said Cabi­net takes a very se­ri­ous view of the im­por­tance of schemes such as JA, ENACTUS and Kick-Start, say­ing th­ese en­ti­ties hold po­ten­tial to con­trib­ute to­wards sus­tain­able growth.

“The qual­ity of the JA pro­gramme and men­tor­ing in­puts are to be highly rec­om­mended, the suc­cess achieved would not have hap­pened without the en­thu­si­asm, en­ergy and com­mit­ment of the pupils them­selves,” he said.

He fur­ther en­cour­aged the pupils to pay more at­ten­tion to the ICT sec­tor, say­ing there were more op­por­tu­ni­ties that come from the sec­tor.

FOR­MAL: JA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Si­bon­iso Mad­lopha with Prime Min­is­ter Dr Sibu­siso Dlamini, MC for the day Nom­cebo Dlamini JA Ex­ec­u­tive Board Chair­per­son Nokukhanya Gamedze and Gcinile Fakudze.

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