Youths in Cameroon have been told to invest in agriculture which is an important creator of jobs. The call was made by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang yesterday Tuesday February 7 at the Conference Centre in Yaounde while officially opening the maiden edition of the National Youth Forum; a platform organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education from 7 to 8 February to mark the 46th National Youth Day.
"If our agricultural revolution succeeds, it will offer more jobs from the most simple to the most qualified," he told the 1,500 youths attending.
The forum whose theme dwells on the challenges and prospects surrounding the socio-economic and professional integration of youths, comes against a backdrop of alarming research findings revealing that unemployment and under-employment constitute the major problems faced by a majority of youths.
Sources at the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education say the national youth unemployment rate is 13 per cent with the cities of Douala and Yaounde recording 22 and 30 per cent, respectively.
As the State's solutions to the problem, Philemon Yang named large scale recruitment exercises such as 25,000 certificate holders into the public service, public competitive examinations organised yearly, investments in education and the creation of the National Youth Council. Moreso, several youth support programmes have been created to boost self-employment.
He expressed hope that the economic recovery, major infrastructure projects and professional training will offer more direct and indirect jobs to youths. "You are not a problem but a solution. You are not a liability but an asset," he assured.
Speaking earlier, the President of the National Youth Council, Abdoulaye Abdourazzak, lauded President Paul Biya's initiative to organise such a forum.
"This demonstrates his determination and commitment to youth empowerment," he said. After tabling challenges faced by youths, he reiterated youths' commitment to national development. "We plead for the organisation of this forum every year," he concluded.
The Prime Minister officially inaugurated the Exhibition Fair organised as part of the forum after handing over keys to three fishing motor boats to representatives of three common initiative groups of young fishermen in the South, South West and Littoral Regions.
The National Youth Forum will end today with recommendations after a series of lectures, workshops involving youths and key public and private sector institutions.