THE issue of youth unemployment in our country is a time bomb that needs to be handled with the utmost caution it deserves.
Zambian youths today face insurmountable challenges such as the HIV/Aids pandemic and a break in family ties which has brought about the problem of orphans, street kids and high poverty levels.
Youths have always been referred to as the future leaders of tomorrow and, therefore, need to be well-prepared in terms of devotion to hard work, discipline and obedience.
If these young people are neglected, they would turn into anything including engaging in criminal activities which will affect or derail the economic development of our country.
This is why the Government and other stakeholders have voiced concern about the plight of the youth and have come up with various suggestions in an effort to address their problems.
Some of these suggestions point to the idea of re-introducing national service skills training for school leavers.
This is a positive move which would help equip the youth with various entrepreneurship skills that will make them become self-sufficient, supportive, innovative and productive.
As these young people grow into adults, the importance of equipping them with entrepreneurship skills cannot be over-emphasised.
Although it can be noted that not all these youths have a chance to go into school and also that not all them can make it to colleges and universities, it is imperative that they are catered for through skills training.
This will ensure that Zambia does not breed despondency by exposing the youngsters to criminal activities and other social vices in the absence of meaningful economic activities.
Youth skills training and empowerment are such facilities that could be provided because not all the youth could manage to gain formal education due to various challenges.
This is why we welcome suggestions by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called the People's Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia (PPHPZ) that the only way Zambian youths could be empowered is by providing them with low-interest loans and entrepreneurship skills.
Once the youth are empowered in this way, they could contribute greatly to the development of the economy and become responsible and highly productive citizens.
It is cardinal for all the stakeholders to create an enabling environment for the youth in the country as they make the bulk of the population of 13 million people.
Support and encouragement should be given to organisations like PPHPZ and others to help uplift the status of the youth in the country by ensuring that they are exposed to the various economic skills so that they could be able to run their own business ventures like agriculture and metal fabrication to help them defeat poverty and other social challenges facing them.
As PPHPZ youth networking officer Chabala Chibelo says, it is important for the Government to implement policies that are aimed at uplifting the economic status of the youth in our country.
For the youth to be economically empowered, there is need to create a conducive environment that will set them free from poverty and other social challenges.