COMMERCE, trade and industry permanent secretary Mushumba Mulenga has urged youths to hold leaders accountable.
And Mulenga says Zambia is facing a youth bulge with those aged between 15-35 representing 37 per cent of the population.
Addressing youths attending the Southern Province Agriculture Youth Symposium at the Livingstone Golf Club on the sidelines of the ongoing South Zambia Tourism and Investment Expo on Monday, Mulenga said government would continue working with the youth as it moves towards creating an enabling environment for inclusive development.
“Read the 7th National Development Plan and vision 2030 so that you can hold us accountable using these documents…we need to move away from a situation where people just attend such symposiums and never deliver. We need to inculcate a culture of accountability, the only way this can be done is if people like you (youths) hold us accountable,” Mulenga said.
He noted that the 2014 Labour Force Survey indicated that of the total working-age population, only 15.1 per cent had received skills training, and that this was further compounded by the increasing labour force of 300,000 school leavers annually.
“The high youth unemployment figures were attributed to, among others, unmet educational needs of the labour market, lack of work experience and lack of relevant skills training,” he said.
“Noting that Zambia has a youthful population, it is therefore, imperative that we as a country breed, not only employees, but employers as well by equipping the youths with the right skills and training,” Mulenga said.
He added that there was need for more youths to own successful businesses.
“Inclusive development depends on ensuring that the more vulnerable members of our society, the women and youths, are not left behind,” Mulenga added.
He indicated that the symposium was the fourth of its kind, adding that after all 10 provincial symposiums have been held, a national indaba shall be held by the end of 2020 at which youths shall compete to showcase their ingenuity.
Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project chief executive officer Dr Shula Kefi said youths have been identified as key drivers in national development.
He said Zambia fifth in aquaculture production after Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana.
Namibia’s Kaprivi governor Lawrence Sampofu attended the symposium.