Dr. Fannie Leatier of the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) during a meeting with Republic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. They discussed the need to create jobs and economic oppotunities for youth on the continent., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Unemployment blamed on poor resource allocation
Thursday, 09 February 2012 00:00
YOUTH unemployment in Africa is a manifestation of inequitable allocation of resources, President Mugabe has said.
Speaking at celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the African Capacity Building Foundation in Harare yesterday, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said Zimbabwe was addressing the challenge through a number of initiatives.
"For Zimbabwe, we are addressing this cha-llenge in a number of ways as will be seen in the make-up of Government where we have ministries dealing with SMEs, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, the development of agriculture and the promotion of the use of information technologies."
President Mugabe said Africa was carrying the largest contingent of the global population of young people with 60 percent of its inhabitants below 24years.
"Yet if managed well, this youth represents Africa's best development asset over the next decades," he said.
"For this to happen, it is important to better understand Africa's youth in order to design and implement the best policies aimed at unlocking its creativity and innovativeness."
President Mugabe said Africa was confronted by many challenges on its path to sustained growth and development than ever before.
"There is no denying that Africa needs to substantially improve growth performance if it is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals against the backdrop of the global financial crisis and economic recession in the Euro Zone," he said.
President Mugabe said Africa still needed to position herself in an increasingly globalised world to find solutions to the challenges the continent is facing.
He singled out high food prices, the need for agricultural transformation, unemployment and political instability.
"Central to the myriad of challenges facing our continent is the inadequacy of human and institutional capacity and the absence of a systematic and institutionalised mechanism for peer learning and experience sharing amongst countries," President Mugabe said.
He said there was an urgent need for a public sector that is knowledgeable, efficient, empowered and committed and a private sector that is innovative, growth-oriented and competitive.
Civil society, he said, should be constructively responsive and capable of collaborating with both the public and private sectors with the view of achieving development goals.
ACBF's commitments to Zimbabwe have amounted to US$18 million in grants.
"These funds have supported the implementation of projects with both national and regional scope," said the President.
"As Government, we welcome ACBF's commitment to work with the Government of Zimbabwe within the framework of its new strategic thinking."
The ACBF has supported Zimbabwe's capacity building project to strengthen the national statistical systems, capacity programme for the Ministry of Regional Integration and International Co-operation and the public sector management training programme, among others.
ACBF executive secretary Dr Frannie Leatier said her organisation was driving the agenda to end economic dislocations of the 1990s and promote indigenous human capital development.
She said Africa should take charge of its economic development and eradicate poverty.
"We should develop think-tanks and institutionalise dialogue and improve quality of policy, reverse brain drain and pull Africa out of poverty," said Dr Leatier.
ACBF executive board chairperson Mr Paul Baloyi said Africa's economic gains and resources have been eroded in the past 15 years due to broken institutions and conflicts.
He said the global economic crisis impacted negatively on the continent and donor funding had shrunk resulting in economic slowdown.
Mr Baloyi said the leadership in Africa should identify and sustain key elements such as capacity building to capacitate weak elements.
"We are the custodians of our resources and conflicts choke Africa from performing. We need efficiency and good governance," he said.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is an ACBF governor, said Africa was coming from a narrative of pessimism and there was need for continued peace to create a conducive environment for certainty, job creation and food security.
He said the continent required capacity building to attain technical capacity, one of the areas Zimbabwe was still developing.
"We need to rebuild capacity and come up with qualitative elements, which are in line with the social contract. We need to create capacity, retain and utilise it," Minister Biti said.