13 Jun, 2017

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A young man making his contribution during the round table discussion

Despite that over 60 percent of the Africa’s population is young people, it is disappointing that they are hardily given ample opportunities to fully realise their potential.

This was said on 9th June 2017 at LUANAR Bunda Campus during a Round Table Discussion organized nu South Africa High Commision to Malawi in collaboration with LUANAR under a theme “Harnessing the demographic dividend in South Africa, Malawi and the Continent for the Africa we want”.

The theme takes cue from the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU) who in January this year adopted the continental theme of “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the youth”.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano, said the youth can be critical agents for positive change if proper investments are put in place. The Minister indicated that government is making sure that more efforts are put in the areas of education and skills development so that young people are empowered. He emphasised that formal education on its own does not necessarily provide the youth with the necessary skills they need, saying they need to be given relevant and practical skills to stand on their own, especially in the face of the looming unemployment.

“Education should have aspects that will prepare young people to deal with their challenges,” said the Minister.

Complementing the Minister, Chairman of LUANAR Council, Professor James Seyani, said if well harnessed, the youth can spur the Continent to greater heights, underlining that events like these are meant to give the youth a platform where they can voice out how they think this should be done.
“This youth bulge can become a demographic dividend with effective investments in the African youth to bolster economic growth and development. ‘Education and skills development’ is one of the four key interconnected pillars that are most critical to increasing investments in youth development, driving change and setting African countries on the path towards harnessing the demographic dividend” said Professor Seyani.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Buti Manamela said the demographic dividend in Africa demands that we must align our policies towards improving and investing in our youth, saying our societies should believe that it is a worthy cause to invest in our young population, from early childhood development right through to the various educational paths as the future rests with them.

“We have to continue to improve the wellbeing of our people by ensuring that our youths contribute significantly and meaningfully to the working age population. All over Africa, the larger proportion of the productive population is young. This is the group that should provide the increased economic activity, provided that they have the skills to compete in the labour market that should absorb them,” said the Deputy Minister.

In her remarks, the High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa to Malawi, Ms Thenjiwe Mtintso, said the event was organized as part of the South African Government initiative to celebrate the centenary of the life of South Africa’s longest serving president of the African National Congress, Oliver Reginald Tambo.

She said she believes that the youth will emulate from the values of O.R. Tambo which include passion, patriotism, integrity and humility.

The High Commissioner said the Round Table Discussion was initiated to hear and centre the voices of the youth on what they consider critical matters relating to their aspirations and vision for building the Africa they want bearing in mind that they are leaders of the continent.

“In this regard, we should then answer the question as to how do we make sure that our communities, societies governments and all sectors clearly understand and enable the youth to unleash their full potential for the achievement of Africa’s agenda 2063,” said the High Commissioner.

One of the young people who contributed to the discussion, Watipaso from Africa Bible College (ABC), said it is high time that some of the education policies are changed saying the country’s education system thrives on cramming where students memorize, pass exams and forget.

He further bemoaned a tendency of worshiping English language citing China as the second biggest world’s economy yet it uses its own local language.

Another young man, Amon Nyasulu, said that despite the fact that some educational institutions are promoting entrepreneurship, the country does not have a proper framework to support entrepreneurship among the youth.

He said it is sad to note that this year’s national budget does not have an allocation to support youth entrepreneurship.

A young lady from Chancellor College advised people in offices to have retirement plans so that when it is time for their retirement, they should not cling to the offices rather pave way for young blood and also create employment opportunities for them.

Apart from paying tribute to O.R. Tambo who would have turned hundred years this year had he lived, the event was also part of commemoration of South Africa 23rd Freedom Day anniversary.

Written By: Patricia Ngwale