WASHINGTON DC —
Youths in Zimbabwe say they prefer urgent action on issues affecting them instead of attending workshops that don’t have tangible outcomes.
Speaking after attending a two-day youth conference held in Harare focusing on skills development, financing, knowledge and policy frameworks, Misheck Gondo of the National Association of Youth Organizations, said youths want real policy changes to come out of such conferences.
The conference, which was attended by several state officials, some captains of industry and commerce, college and university students and youths drawn from various parts of the country, was designed to find ways of empowering youths.
The majority of youths in Zimbabwe are unemployed due to the harsh economic environment worsened by the country's feared indigenization program, which is reportedly discouraging foreign direct investment.
According to the National Social Security Authority and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, more than 300 companies have shut down following the re-election of President Robert Mugabe in the 2013 general poll.
The country's economy recorded some marginal growth after the formation of the unity government in 2009 but is now fast declining, leaving millions of youths jobsless.
The government has in the past come up with youth empowerment programmes such as indigenization schemes crafted by various banks in an effort to empower youths. These have been reportedly abused by politicians, mostly aligned to President Mugabe's Zanu PF party.
Zimbabwe's unemployment rate if officially pegged at 10.7 percent though independent economist say it is more than 80 percent.
Gondo says in order to fully empower the youths, politicians should focus on aligning the constitution with laws that directly affect them.
"Realigning these laws will be much better than workshops that we attend which never come up with solutions to problems faced by youths."