Victor Maphosa Herald Reporter
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa has described youths as Africa’s greatest resource. She said this in a statement this week as the country joined the rest of the African continent in celebrating Africa Youth Day. “We recognise that young people are Africa’s greatest resource, therefore, we need a young voice at all levels of Government, parastatals, local authorities, civic society and in all other sectors of the economy,” she said.

“Young people in Africa constitute a great source of human capital base for economic development in a demographically young Africa, and this is why the African Union Commission has designated 2017 the year of harnessing the demographic div- idend.”

The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investment in Youth: Be the Future Today”. Africa Youth Day was established to acknowledge African youth as key actors towards implementing Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2016 to 2030.

It is also regarded as an opportunity to celebrate youth on the continent, including channelling youth motivation, energy and creativity towards political, social and economic renewal. In addition, Africa Youth Day is designed to contribute and channel youth voices, energy and idealism to reinforce the efforts towards the achievement of sustainable development in Africa.

Minister Mabuwa said Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development – adopted by world leaders at the United Nations in September 2015 – recognises young people as agents of change. She said there was need to focus on youth-related policies and also ensure the implementation of youth-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Zimbabwe, Minister Mabuwa said, youths had shown commitment to achieving the goals of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset). Government has created desks in each ministry to take into account concerns of the youths in policy making and implementation.

“We salute young people who have taken this agenda to greater heights and have followed the visionary leadership of His Excellency, the President Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe, and as a ministry responsible for youth development and economic empowerment, we express our gratitude for the youth who have introduced the Youth Interface programmes with His Excellency, the President, that has seen thousands of youth meeting the President in the provinces,” said Minister Mabuwa.

Youths on the continent, she said, should emulate local youths in honouring their pan-African leaders who liberated their countries from colonial bondage. Minister Mabuwa said Government will ensure that youths continued to play an important role in transforming African economies.

“As we look into the future, we would like to ensure that our youth continue to play their important role and should lead the economic transformation process in Africa,” she said. “His Excellency President Mugabe once said that the youth should judiciously exploit our natural resources for the good of the continent.”

According to Minister Mabuwa, Government will ensure that all youth policies are integrated with national development strategies in the context of Zim-Asset, SDGs and the Africa Vision 2063.

The youth ministry will be pushing policy makers to ensure that Government policies are evaluated in terms of their potential impact on youths. “We will ensure that the development plans and national budgets target the youth in the context of harnessing the demographic dividend,” she said.

“Youth training centres will, in addition to providing life-long practical skills, train our youth to be well-disciplined and morally upright, with emphasis on hunhu/ubuntu and they should be ready to play their spiritual, social, political and national development roles.”

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