WASHINGTON DC —
The country’s controversial indigenization program was back in the news at the weekend with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai threatening to reverse the Zanu-PF backed empowerment drive if elected president in fresh polls this year.
Parliament today heard the empowerment drive is failing to attract the country’s youth with very few applying for funds under the $10 million CABS youth fund known as Kurera or Ukondla.
Brian Mpofu, head of the fund, told Senate’s indigenisation and empowerment thematic committee there was a general low uptake of the fund throughout the country. He said since last year only $2.7 million has been disbursed.
Some districts in the country did not even apply for the funds to start income generating projects, Mpofu said.
He said the institution has so far received 16,367 applications and about 3,535 were approved.
Most of the applications so far have been for capacity building, failing to meet set criteria for funding.
CABS, he said, provided $1 million to the youth ministry to train the youth before they could apply for the loans.
Some applications, at least 5 percent, were rejected because applicants were over the 35-year age limit, said Mpofu.
Thirty-three percent of the applications came from young women while 66 percent were male.
The Youth Empowerment Fund was established last year as part of Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s contribution to the country’s indigenisation and empowerment programme.
Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the youth empowerment fund has been facing some challenges though the programme is progressing well.
For prespective on the empowerment program and the youth, VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo turned to Glanis Changachirere, co-ordinator of the Institue for Young Women Development, and director Sydney Chisi of the Youth Initiative for Democracy.