Thursday, November 17, 2011

Zimbabwe Vice-President Mujuru Launches Youth Development Fund

Mujuru launches US$11m fund

Thursday, 17 November 2011 00:00
Herald Reporter

VICE President Joice Mujuru yesterday launched a US$11 million Youth Development Fund, a loan facility provided by Old Mutual as part of efforts to empower the young people.

The fund was launched during the commemoration of the African Youth Day that was being held under the theme "Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development."

The facility, which would not require collateral, will be administered through Central Africa Building Society and was negotiated through the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment. Addressing thousands of youths in the capital, the Vice President called for transparency in the distribution of the money taking into account disadvantaged remote communities and the physically challenged.

She said the fund would go a long way in alleviating poverty among the youths.

"I believe that this will take youths away from the streets, away from promiscuity, violence and drug abuse and all forms of maladies afflicting our young population today," she said. The Vice President also outlined various empowerment programmes being spearheaded by the Government aimed at empowering the youth.

They include Junior Parliament, vocational and integrated skills outreach, adding that the fund will complement these efforts.

"The requirements for the loans are youth friendly as no collateral is needed. What is required is for the youth to be diligent, dependable and hardworking. This will help to enhance business viability and growth and also make it possible to repay loans so that many young people can benefit from the revolving funds," she said.

Turning to violence, the Vice President implored them to desist from the scourge, saying those with problems should come forward and seek dialogue than resorting to violence. Speaking at the same occasion Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, said there was nothing that could stop the youths from prospering in life, as long as they were committed.

"Don't allow your family circumstances to undermine your dream," he said.

On violence, DPM Mutambara said not only did it denigrate the victim but the perpetrator as well.
"Violence removes dignity for the victim and the victimiser. Dignity is a shared value," he said.

He chronicled how international celebrities such as Bill Gates started, urging the youth to embrace ICTs.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Savior Kasukuwere, warned financial institutions of foreign parentage to comply with the indigenisation laws.

"We are sick and tired of the Barclays and Standard Chartered Banks of this world. They should either shape up or ship out," he said.

He implored the Government to take concerns raised by the youths seriously, saying if not well managed their anger "might be turned again us."

Old Mutual group chief executive officer, Mr Luke Ngwerume, said the creation of the fund was a fulfillment of the requirements of indigenisation legislation.

"However, it is critical to point out that Old Mutual's commitment to delivering this unprecedented initiative is underpinned by our sense of responsibility to make ongoing contributions to Zimbabwe's economic development that we take most seriously, as a leader in the financial services sector and broader economy," said Mr Ngwerume.

Old Mutual, he said, had engaged the Government regarding opportunities supporting the reconstruction of the country and it had increased its products in the past two years.

"This transaction is not merely an exercise in ‘compliance.' It is a tangible demonstration of Old Mutual's commitment to the recovery and long term growth of the Zimbabwean economy," said Mr Ngwerume.

The event was also attended by president of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira, Government Ministers, legislators, African National Congress Youth of South Africa representatives and youth organisations.

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