Zimbabwe was Friday urged to include the youth in decision-making process and enact policies that can enhance their participation in economic activities in the country.
This was stressed by speaker after speaker at the first ever exhibition, which included high level debates, on education and economic opportunities for young people in Zimbabwe.
Representatives from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and ambassadors from Britain and the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the diplomats who attended the event which saw more than 20 embassies exhibiting and showcasing youth opportunities in their countries, including educational scholarships.
They stressed the need for the country to include the youths, who now constitute the majority of the population if the country, in decision-making processes.
Economist Ashok Chakravati said most youths are out of employment, adding they face a bleak future as most of them are excluded from economic activity.
The government, he said, should introduce policies that will attract investment and create opportunities for young people and private companies.
“Development happens when you have a good and enabling environment put in place by a government which enables all your energies to be released so that you work for yourselves and by working for yourselves you are going to better your own life and the consequence of that is going to be the growth and development of the country,” Chakravati said.
Some youths who attended the fair, which also showcased opportunities for the youth outside Zimbabwe, said they felt empowered by the information they got, in particular about continuing to study, even in foreign countries.
Blessing Makovera said she was excited by the debates and the fair.
“I have learnt a lot by being here and I’m so grateful that now I know what is expected of me when I go back to school,” said Makovera. “This has been such an eye opener.”
Misheck Gondo, co-organizer of the fair, which is dubbed The Space, said the platform seeks to bring opportunities to young people, linking them with organizations and universities that provide scholarships and business opportunities.
“It’s a platform whereby we are also discussing policy issues; we are discussing different issues in terms of development aid, development effectiveness, poverty eradication and the role of young people in terms of the national discourse, among other things,” Gondo said.
Embassies of the United States, Britain, Japan and Indonesia were among the many countries that were represented at event which organizers says would be held annually.