PRETORIA – 28th FEBRUARY, 2017 – LABOUR and Social Security Minister, Mrs. Joyce Nonde-Simukoko has said that the structure of education curricula in most Southern African countries do not support employment creation.
Mrs. Nonde-Simukoko has said that education systems in most countries in the region were designed to equip learners with skills to enable them get employed, and neglected the inherent skills or talents that every human being had.
She said although most countries were emphasising on education, they overlooked the need to emphasise on the type of education that was relevant to help increase employment opportunities.
The minister said most countries, including Zambia, lacked vocational training institutions which were key to skills development.
“In life, it is all about the skills that we have to offer. We all have talents which should be harnessed for us to succeed in life and it has shown that talent-oriented jobs are usually successful,” Mrs. Nonde Simukoko said.
She bemoaned the demise of vocational training institutions in Zambia and the privatisation of state-owned enterprises saying these were some of the other major contributors to the high unemployment levels the country was grappling with.
Mrs. Nonde-Simukoko said Zambia consequently found herself with a huge population of its citizens in the informal sector who lacked well-nurtured skills or talents to effectively engage in their trade.
The minister was speaking yesterday during a panel discussion at the Jobs for Youths in Africa (JFYA) regional ministerial conference organised by the African Development Bank Group held at Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria, South Africa.
She was speaking on the topic; ‘What skills do we need for the Southern African labour market.’
Mrs. Nonde-Simukoko said the Zambian Government was now working to reorganise the informal sector so as to enhance its role on the economic development scene.
She said 80 per cent of the working population in Zambia was in the informal sector, which meant that this group was not captured in the tax net.
“Only 20 per cent of Zambia’s working population pays tax. This is what is contributing to the running of the economy. If we had all those in the informal sector paying tax, we could have had enough resources to even put up facilities such vocational colleges to train them.”
“It will be easier for government of even financial institutions such as banks to find and work with them on projects once they are properly organised,” she said.
The minister cited the taxi and bus transportation business and small scale farmers as some of the informal sector areas where reorganisation had already started.
She said her ministry; the Ministry of Commerce, Trade & Industry, and the Ministry of Youth, Sport & Child Development were involved in the exercise.
Other panelists included Mozambican Minister of Labour, Employment & Social Security, Ms. Vitoria Diogo; Mr. Tshenolo Ratshosa, Coordinator of the Employment Bureau of Botswana, and Professor Nicholas Biekpe, Professor of Development Finance & Econometrics from the University of Cape Town.
And speaking during another panel discussion, Zimbabwe Minister of Finance, Mr. Patrick Chinamasa, said the region needed to grow its economy in order to have sustainable solutions to the problem of unemployment.
He said there was need for deliberate policies that would place women at the centre of programmes aimed at addressing the problem of unemployment because studies have shown that women were the largest employers in the informal sector.
Mr. Chinamasa was speaking on the topic; ‘Mainstreaming youth employment into macro and sectorial policies’.
And COMESA Secretary General, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya, said it would be a form of smart partnership for governments to consider whether they should tax private organisations that had developed and implemented programmes that helped with employment creation.
AfDB has realised that youth unemployment and underemployment were fundamental challenges around the globe and that 70 per cent of Africans were under 30 years and that 50 per cent of the world’s youth will be African in the next three decades.
In response to this crisis, AfDB has adopted a JFYA Strategy for the period of 2016 – 2025 during which plans to create 25 million jobs and equip at least 50 million youth to realise their full economic potential would be implemented.
Similar regional ministerial conferences have been held in north, west, east and central Africa.
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