It is not a secret that in many countries including Zambia, thousands of young women and men face obstacles in engaging in productive activities.
This is because educational and training systems appear not to provide them with the skills required to land jobs in the private sector as well as government.
They are perceived as high-risk due to their age and limited entrepreneurial experience, consequently finding it difficult to access capital to start-up or grow their own businesses.
So the call by a youth in Sikoongo ward, of Chirundu district, on government to organize platforms for the youths, especially those in rural areas, to express themselves for them to bring out challenges that they are facing, could not have come at a better time than now.
We think it is timely because currently many of Zambian youths are engaged in most uncanny activities such as alcohol abuse, prostitution, drugs and human trafficking to mention but a few vices.
Dickson Kalumanda correctly thinks events like the Youth Day are supposed to be commemorated by all the youths, both in urban and rural areas with sincere involvement of government which unfortunately was missing at this year’s event in Sikoongo.
Mr Kamulanda says the youths gathered at Sikoongo grounds hoping that someone would come to address them but no one did so. That was obviously outrageous!
He concurringly says that the youths were waiting to be addressed by either the district education board secretary to encourage them on the importance of school or the district agriculture coordinator on the benefits of agriculture but that none of them showed up.
We also agree with his cry to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources minister, Jean Kapata, to empower youths, especially those in rural area, with land so that they can involve themselves in agriculture and contribute to growing the food basket of Zambia.
It is time too, we think, that the Zambian government got seriously involved in the creation of long-term, decent and productive work for the youths in the entire nation to adequately prepare them for future leadership.
Government should offer opportunities for social inclusion by means of empowerment of women and creating decent employment opportunities for youths.
There will be need to assist young entrepreneurs seeking to set up their own businesses with markets and value chains so that they can identify sectors with high potential for them.
Zambian youths will need services that are geared to increase their employability and provide them with the necessary tools to create and develop sustainable enterprises, and ultimately improve their livelihoods.
The role of government in this case, is to ensure that there is a favourable environment for setting up new businesses, which would in turn offer employment to the youth.
Additionally, through the empowerment schemes, youth could be assisted to set up income generating ventures through which other young people could gain employment.
This is the assurance that the youth want to get from government.