By Leonard M. Zulu
In Zambia, almost 75 per cent of the country’s population of 14 million people is below the age of 35 years, 45 per cent of the population is aged 14 years and below, 20.8 per cent between 15-24 years, 25 per cent between 15-35 years. According to the 2008 Labour Force Survey (LFS), 28 per cent of the economically active youth were unemployed – almost double the national average of 15 per cent. Compounded by the large number of underemployed youth and the high number of youth entering the labor market, current estimates show that over 300,000 young people enter the labor market each year.
As traditional job-for-life career paths become rare, youth entrepreneurship is regarded as an additional way of integrating youth into the labor market and overcoming poverty. Entrepreneurship and self-employment can be a source of new jobs and economic dynamism and can improve youth livelihoods and economic independence in developing countries.
Guy Kawasaki, founder of AllTop once said “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” This is probably what “we” unemployed UNZA graduates suffer from. Yes I am a graduate too (graduated one of the top of my class even) and unemployed, class of 2014, BA with Merit in Development Studies with a minor in sociology. I know the adversities of the graduate, especially if you are ambitious.
Stella M Sata makes sense on an idealistic level. Formal employment is not always the answer, we need to think outside the box and realize that government can only go so far in as provision of employment is concerned.
It is true job creation is not the role of government alone, companies must work with the state and labour unions to boost employment and reduce inequality. The problem of rising inequality cannot simply be placed at the door of government, regardless of how you might feel about the general performance of government. However, the stark reality is that inequality will remain high until we campaign together for job creation. Without addressing inequality, the economy can get trapped in a cycle of weak investment, sluggish growth and increased social tension.
Entrepreneurship is the engine of economic growth and development. Youth entrepreneurship has a greater potential to aid the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 8, target 16 which aims at providing decent and productive work for youth. Provision of employment among the youth will save us from social exclusion.
Government needs to create an enabling environment for job creation that will help us the young people to have gainful employment either formal employment or entrepreneurial activities. By entrepreneurial activities here we mean proper businesses as opposed to the suggestions of this highly opinionated young lady who I believe does not have an idea of what it means to suffer for an education.
However, if I were to address Ms. Stella, I would say, you have always had it better than the average Zambian. You studied in the best schools (Malaysia) at the expense of our parent’s taxes, doors opened for you because of your name….and still they continue to open.
You do not know the feeling of having to constantly drop applications, get no feedback, or to be rejected because of lack of experience, everything has been handed to you on a silver platter, and thus you have the audacity to stand and tell the graduate who suffered 4-5 years cramming to go and sell tomatoes.
What worries me even more is that you think you have the monopoly of wisdom and always has anything to say about everything..eish!!! Sometimes silence is golden.
There are many constraints that youth entrepreneurs face in their endeavors. As young people we are more likely to face greater barriers than older age cohorts due to limited resources, life and work experience. Through support programmes such as access to credit, business incubators, entrepreneurship education and business training, mentorship programs and market linkages youth can acquire the needed capacities and assets that increase our chances of starting and operating our own businesses.
But away from that, fellow youths let us desist from being used as tools to propagate the selfish agendas of some of these politicians. They do not have our best interest at heart most of the times, they just want to use us as tools to further their agenda, whatever they pay us will probably be finished in a week and we go back to the streets.
And VINCENT CHAILE, stop misleading your fellow youths, how can you be marching that you are unemployed yet you drive, and own some shops in UNZA (allocated to yourself during your tenure as UNZASU President)?? story izibika!