Youth em­pow­er­ment, Govt pri­or­ity: Pres­i­dent

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Lin­coln Towindo

GOV­ERN­MENT is rolling out a cock­tail of eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment in­ter­ven­tions to fa­cil­i­tate the in­te­gra­tion of young peo­ple into main­stream eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties and es­tab­lish their po­si­tion as the foun­da­tion of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has said.

Speak­ing dur­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing of the 25th Ses­sion of the Ju­nior Par­lia­ment of Zim­babwe in Harare yes­ter­day Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said pro­vi­sion of ven­ture cap­i­tal to youths was be­ing pri­ori­tised un­der the mea­sures be­ing im­ple­mented by Gov­ern­ment.

The event also co­in­cided with the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Day of the African Child.

Al­ready, Gov­ern­ment has laid the ground for the es­tab­lish­ment of a fully-fledged mi­cro-fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion tar­geted at youth em­pow­er­ment af­ter re­leas­ing US$2,5 mil­lion for the cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion Em­power Bank.

The Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe is soon ex­pected to li­cense the in­sti­tu­tion, which will fo­cus on fund­ing busi­ness ven­tures run by young en­trepreneurs.

Through sim­i­lar em­pow­er­ment fa­cil­i­ties, the Indi­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic

Em­pow­er­ment Min­istry has iden­ti­fied about 40 000 young en­trepreneurs, who have cre­ated over 90 000 jobs.

Young peo­ple, said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe, are be­ing grad­u­ally in­te­grated into com­ple­ment­ing Gov­ern­ment’s im­ple­men­ta­tion of ZimAs­set through four an­chor com­pa­nies es­tab­lished for the pur­pose.

The four com­pa­nies will have their func­tions di­rectly linked to in­di­vid­ual clus­ters of the eco­nomic blue­print.

Said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe: “Guided by Sec­tion 20 of our Con­sti­tu­tion, Gov0ern­ment has taken mea­sures, to en­sure that young peo­ple be­tween the ages of 15 and 35 years are af­forded op­por­tu­ni­ties for em­ploy­ment and other av­enues to eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment.

“We have thus adopted a na­tional youth pol­icy that seeks to em­power the youth through cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment which en­ables them to reach their full po­ten­tial, eco­nom­i­cally, po­lit­i­cally and so­cially.

“In or­der to mit­i­gate the chal­lenges that our youths face in ac­cess­ing ven­ture cap­i­tal and other forms of fi­nance to up­scale their busi­ness, Gov­ern­ment has now ap­proved the open­ing of a mi­cro-fi­nance in­sti­tu­tion, through the is­suance of an op­er­at­ing li­cense for Twin­stock Cap­i­tal, as a step to­wards the es­tab­lish­ment of a fully fledged Em­power-Bank.

“The mi­cro-fi­nance bank is set to build and up­scale the op­er­a­tions of young en­trepreneurs.

“The Indig­in­i­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Min­istry has also iden­ti­fied 39 385 young en­trepreneurs, who have cre­ated 93 692 jobs, un­der the Zim­babwe Cham­pi­ons and he­roes of the Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Rev­o­lu­tion (ZIMCHEER).

“Gov­ern­ment re­al­izes the need to em­power young peo­ple now, so as to up­scale their skills and busi­ness, thus bring­ing them into the main­stream econ­omy.

“Gov­ern­ment also con­tin­ues to ex­plore av­enues of in­te­grat­ing the youths in the main­stream econ­omy through the in­clu­sion of the youth in the four clus­ters of ZimAs­set.

“This will be achieved through an­chor com­pa­nies namely, Youth Feed Zim­babwe (Food Se­cu­rity and Nu­tri­tion Clus­ter); Youth Shape Zim­babwe (Util­i­ties and In­fra­struc­ture Clus­ter); Youth Em­ploy Zim­babwe (Poverty Erad­i­ca­tion and So­cial Ser­vices Clus­ter); and Youth Make Zim­babwe (Ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and value Ad­di­tion Clus­ter).”

The Pres­i­dent warned youths against tak­ing for granted the rights be­stowed on them af­ter In­de­pen­dence, say­ing the free­dom was borne out of a hard fought war of lib­er­a­tion.

He re­it­er­ated that the Day of the African Child was de­rived from the in­ci­dent in South Africa where school chil­dren were killed for demon­strat­ing against apartheid sys­tem that wanted to make Afrikaans com­pul­sory in schools.

“I vis­ited where they are buried and when you get there you re­ally feel that apartheid was dev­il­ish and you feel also that those who did it can­not be for­given, but they were for­given and we still have the Afrikan­ers in South Africa recog­nised as a peo­ple,” said the Pres­i­dent. “It was their gov­ern­ment which did it. “They didn’t want to learn Afrikaans but the na­tion­al­ist Gov­ern­ment of the Afrikan­ers was forc­ing every­one to learn Afrikaans.

“So, as a re­sult, hun­dreds of youths lost their lives at their hands; the hands of apartheid op­pres­sors.

“But as we re­flect on that, I would like you not to take your rights and free­doms for granted.

Added the Pres­i­dent; “Other hun­dreds of thou­sands of young peo­ple were among the many that died dur­ing our lib­er­a­tion strug­gle.

“Those who died in the camps were not nec­es­sar­ily all fight­ers; they were, some of them refugees that had crossed over some with their par­ents some hav­ing left school; be­ing too young for train­ing so they were in these camps.

“But the Rhode­sians were mer­ci­less and they were bomb­ing these places with na­palm bombs.

“How­ever, we have said by­gones are by­gones but we shall never for­get these acts of bru­tal­ity that were com­mit­ted on us and our chil­dren. “We shall re­mem­ber. “So, we do not take our free­dom for granted; we do not take our free­dom for granted and we con­tinue to re­spect nat­u­rally those of our cadres who are still alive for the fight that they put up.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe urged school chil­dren to take their ed­u­ca­tion se­ri­ously.

The event was at­tended by Vice Pres­i­dents Mnan­gagwa and Mphoko, cab­i­net min­is­ters se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, leg­is­la­tors, mem­bers of the diplo­matic com­mu­nity and school chil­dren.

— Pic­ture: Be­lieve Nyakud­jara

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mu­gabe share a lighter mo­ment while flanked by the in­com­ing Child Pres­i­dent Takudzwa Mhuru at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Ju­nior Par­lia­ment and Day of the African Child com­mem­o­ra­tions at the City Sports Cen­tre in Harare yes­ter­day.

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