Maputo — Mozambique's First Lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, has urged young people to organise themselves into associations, and to undertake productive initiatives that can provide self-employment, thus minimising the employment problems they face.
She was speaking on Wednesday at a rally in the Muze administrative post in Zumbo district, in the western province of Tete.
One person who spoke at the event, Manuel Agostinho, speaking in the name of the young people of the district, addressed a request to the First Lady to intercede with the government to create jobs in Muze.
He also wanted the government to persuade the mining companies operating elsewhere in Tete to come to Zumbo. "This would allow us to have jobs", he said.
The problem with this proposal is that the main discoveries of coal are in Moatize district, which is 300 kilometres east of Zumbo.
In response, Maria Guebuza urged the youths of Muze to form associations and apply for loans from the District Development Fund (FDD). If they were well organised, she said, they could implement projects that would give them jobs and that might allow them to employ other people.
One community leader who spoke during the meeting said there are no restrictions in Muze on access to the FDD - applicants merely have to present a project that is deemed viable.
"You youngsters could, for example, draw up a project to make bricks for house building", suggested the First Lady. "In this way you could earn money for your sustenance, and then invest in other projects".
They should not just sit back and wait for the government to assist them, but should take their own initiatives instead, she urged.
Muze residents also took the opportunity to complain of the poor state of access roads which makes it difficult for farmers to take their surplus crops to markets. Like much of northern Tete, Muze has great agricultural potential, but inability to market crops means that much of the maize harvested simply rots in peasant barns.
Along the road from Tete city to Zumbo, AIM saw barns overflowing with maize, waiting for buyers to come. But much of this road is a badly maintained dirt track, and businesses might well be reluctant to risk entrusting their vehicles to it.
Maria Guebuza is touring Tete province, and on Thursday was scheduled to visit social projects and hold discussions with community leaders in Macanga district.