President Edgar Lungu says no meaningful development can take place without the involvement of the youth. ZAMBIA'S Republican President has challenged youths to be agents of positive change and to reposition themselves in an effort to contribute positively to the social and economic development agenda.
Speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the launch of the 2015 Youth policy and action Plan for Youth Empowerment and Employment, President Edgar Lungu said no meaningful development can take place without the full participation of the youth adding that the youth are the posterity of any nation.
Mr. Lungu said the Youth Empowerment and Employment plan has put in place effective strategies for the youth to be empowered, providing a practical and comprehensive empowerment and employment plan.
The president has since directed all cabinet ministers to give preferential treatment to qualified youth-led enterprises in awarding of contracts and in the public procurement process.
“The development will not only create employment for the youth but also secure better quality employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and income to improve people’s living standards,” he said.
Mr. Lungu said the policy aims to achieve direct positive impact on poverty reduction and ensuring sustainable development and social inclusion.
The president noted that the 2015 National Youth Policy and Action Plan must result into 500,000 jobs for the youths by the end of 2016.
He directed all ministries and stake holders to provide updated reports with the number of decent and sustainable employment opportunities created for the youth in their respective sectors.
“The youth should take advantage of the opportunities being created for youth empowerment through projects like the link Zambia 8000 and youth empowerment fund,” he explained.
Meanwhile, United Nations (UN) resident coordinator Janet Rogan said young people are becoming real partners in solving real problems being faced.
“Young leaders are contributing fresh ideas, taking action and mobilising through social media like never before. The transition that the youth make from where they are to being an adult is dependent on the decisions we make today,” she said.
Ms. Rogan urged the youths of Zambia to stand out and speak up about the values they care about and being economically active and productive members of society in order to achieve the vision 2030.
“Zambia is one of the first countries to implement this policy and the UN is proud to support the development and we will continue with the support in conjunction with various ministries,” she added.
And Minister of Youth and Sport Vincent Mwale said government has developed an evidence based policy using scientific and consultative methods in order to ensure that actual problems are dealt with.
He said the plan among others seeks to address youth employment, entrepreneurship development, youth education and health as well as skills development.
The national youth policy and action plan on youth empowerment and employment was launched in order to provide strategic and adequate instruments for addressing youth unemployment and under empowerment comprehensively through a multi sectorial approach.