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Zimbabwe, 10 June 2015: Experts and youth share experiences on the youth situation

© UNICEF 2015
As a group, Zimbabwean young people today have a higher level of educational attainment than any previous cohorts, but nevertheless face serious challenges that will erode their potential if the government and civil society does not prioritize them.

By Richard Nyamanhindi

10 June 2015, HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe is a youthful country, with approximately 60 per cent of its 13 million total population under the age of 30. Annual population growth rate estimates range from 2.4 to 3 percent, and projections indicate a population of 23 million by 2030 according to the 2014 Human Development Report.

The youth cohort will continue to expand, as Zimbabwe is experiencing the lowest declines in fertility in the past decades for which data is available, and by 2020-2025 the country is expected to have the highest fertility rate in the Southern African Development Community sub-region.

According to the 2015 Youth Situation Analysis conducted by the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment under one of its arms the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) with support from UNICEF, Zimbabwe youth, like many young people in the region, face challenges such as high unemployment rates, poor quality of education and educational opportunities, limited civic engagement opportunities, high HIV prevalence rates, teenage pregnancy, and early marriage.

In order to try to overcome these issues, the Zimbabwean Government has outlined key priorities in the National Youth Policy and National Skills Development Policy Framework, which include measures to reduce youth unemployment and improve the coordination of national youth programs.

Speaking at the validation workshop for the Youth Situational Analysis and Investment Case Prioritisation, the Principal Director in the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Mr. S. Masanga said that the Government of Zimbabwe recognises the important role that young people play in the posterity of Zimbabwe’s culture and prosperity of the economy and how their needs should be prioritised going forward.

“As a Government, we recognise the need for active participation of young people in all aspects of the holistic growth of our country’s economy, the need to nurture and help develop the potential that is in these millions of young people,” said Masanga.

Mr. Masanga however lamented the lack of resources especially financial resources that has severely constrained the implementation of youth related policies in Zimbabwe and highlighted how the Youth Situation Analysis findings provide a snapshot of the circumstances of young people, providing insights into how they perceive their opportunities and challenges; how other stakeholders perceive young people’s situation; and recommendations to increase young Zimbabweans’ social and economic wellbeing.

The Youth Situation Analysis provided a comprehensive analysis of potential areas of investment in youth based development in four areas that included Youth Empowerment and Participation; Youth Health, Gender Equity and Equality; Youth Education and Skills Development and Culture, Arts and Recreation.

The objectives of the situation analysis was to analyse the current situation of young people, identify critical needs, major challenges and barriers to the fulfilment of their rights including surveys on current gaps on skills, qualifications and future demands. The analysis also sought to map current youth programmes (both donor and government supported), including support and funding, in order to identify the main gaps and overlaps.

The assessment team conducted extensive focus group discussions with youth and stakeholders involved in youth programming and surveys with Zimbabwean youth ages 10 to 35 years, in addition to interviews and surveys with a broad range of stakeholders from civil society, educational institutions, and the private and public sectors.



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