The subject came up for debate in parliament recently, with legislators saying not much is being done by government in that regard.
Hon. Chombo set the ball rolling asking the Minister of Youth, government policy on accessibility of financial assistance to the youths who want to start up new businesses.
Hon Kazembe responding on behalf of Minister of Youths, Hon Coventry said the government appreciates that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow and as such, tries to empower them.
He added in that regard, the government has set up a bank specifically meant to assist youths, the Youths Empowerment Bank. Adding that he was reliably informed that about $2, 7 million has so far been accessed by the youths.
Hon Chombo came back saying while he agrees that the bank is there, but it is operating just like any other bank, and not giving special conditions to the youths whom people know that they do not have any collateral.
“How can you be able to set up a bank specifically for the youths and you let it
operate on the same conditions which the youths cannot meet?” Hon Chombo asked.
Kazembe replied that while he can not categorically confirm people
are being asked for collateral, what he understood was that cases were being
addressed at case by case basis, depending on individual scenarios.
Hon Khumalo joined in saying the minister should explain his statement that the youths are the future leaders, when their potential is already being exhausted.
“What does he mean by them being the future when they are already in their forties and we have already destroyed their lives?” She asked.
Hon Kazembe said the term future can be defined as any time before hand, be it next week, month, or any minute from now.
The unfancied Hon. Khumalo came back saying it was absolutely important and paramount that youths issues are taken seriously, more so in the current situation where the unemployment rate is so high.
She added that youths should be incorporate into the mainstream economy.
Hon. T Mliswa weighted in saying unemployment rate is 95%, and that the youths are 70% of the population and therefore giving them $2.7 million is a drop in the ocean. “Can you tell me Hon. Minister that allocating them $2.7 million is success and empowerment?” He asked.
Hon Kazembe admitted that the money was not enough, but the wish was to give the youths as much as possible. He blamed the current economic environment in the country.
In a related matter, young people drawn from Southern Africa agreed that there is the need for an organised solidarity movement to push for youths’ concerns.
They say the youths constitute the greatest number in terms of population but are not being enough space.
Speaking during a two day conference dubbed ‘Strengthening Youth Voices in Governance Processes in Southern Africa’ organised by Youth Forum Zimbabwe in Harare recently, the regional youths organisations slammed current African leaders of being corrupt and lacking clear vision for the future.
They roundly lambasted the current crop of leaders in the Southern African Development Committee(SADC) for stifling young people’s voices, and for only entertaining voices of youths representatives from national youth councils who are partisan, while shutting out youths from non-state actors.