Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

25 August 2014

Tanzania: Let's Not Let Our Youth Severed Snake Head Waste Away Like This

IN his first presidential campaign trail in 2005, the eventual victor, President Jakaya Kikwete had touted people's empowerment, targeting especially the youth and women, as one of his first priorities.

He did exactly that when elected to the highest office of the land, setting an enabling environment for entrepreneurship among the women and youth of this country through a special fund, which came to be nicknamed 'mabilioni ya JK' or JK's billions.

The empowerment programme was well-intended and aimed at absorbing thousands of unemployed young men and women into entrepreneurship or informal sector or self-reliance instead of waiting for employment opportunities in the formal sector, which were either very limited or simply not there.

One thing this phase of our country's administration has been able to admirably do is to change the 'old school' mindset that we go to school to eventually secure formal employment.

It worked fine during the so-called good old days when young men finished school to directly go into employment or directly go into employment after finishing university or some vocational training.

Changing times, that saw more and more students finishing secondary school, high school, university or some professional training college and employment opportunities declining, dictated the need for school of college leavers to look to the private or informal sector for gainful engagement.

The past one decade has seen an increase in the number of young men and women who have decided to jump into the entrepreneurship bandwagon, some of them later making headlines due to the astounding successes they have registered in their various ventures.

As proof of this the various trade expos, including the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), exposed to the community in which they live, young men and women displaying all sorts of products and services. You just ask them; they are not some Standard Seven dropouts or school no-shows.

They belong to the educated elite, possessing impressive academic qualifications, including degrees and diplomas. Against this encouraging background in the overall effort to create employment in the country and empower our young women and men, it is all the same discouraging to see hordes of youth loitering in the streets. This is an unpalatable situation that responsible state organs should work extra hard to check

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