15 June 2017

South Africa: Youth Economic Participation Is Everybody's Business

Cape Town — Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Buti Manamela, says advancing youth economic participation is everyone's business, and not only the responsibility of government.

He said this when he briefed the media on the youth development programmes, as well as this year's Youth Day commemoration.

"The focus on advancing youth economic participation on this National Youth Day should cause decision makers to reflect on the kinds of policies and measures required to optimally develop our youth.

"Youth development goes beyond the scope of government. It requires co-operation between various government departments, non-government and private sector organisations, institutions of higher learning and research institutions," Deputy Minister Manamela said on Thursday.

The Deputy Minister said it is through committing resources to youth development and empowerment that youth economic advancement can be realised.

"Therefore, as we tackle our challenges head on to address poverty, unemployment and inequality, we acknowledge the role played by the various organs of state in advancing the development of our youth.

"However, we acknowledge the need to focus on providing support to young people through strengthening youth-led networks and institutions that can amplify their voice and drive change," he said.

The briefing took place ahead of Youth Day commemorations, which will be addressed by President Jacob Zuma in Ventersdorp, in the North West, on Friday.

Just over 40% of the population comprises young people, and youth unemployment now stands at more than 27% amongst this grouping, the Deputy Minister said.

He said against this background, identifying how to maximise the potential of young men and women remains government's key priority.

Government is forging partnerships with other sectors of the economy to implement the obligations cited in the National Youth Policy 2020.

These, the Deputy Minister said, includes:

Advancing economic participation and transformation. In this regard, 48 000 artisans completed their training, 350 000 young people participated in the Tshepo 500 000 programme and the National Youth Development Agency is intensifying the youth entrepreneurship programme;

Rolling out education, skills and second changes. Government is finalising the articulation policy to enable the learners to transit in between academic institutions and approval of the career guidance policy is being prioritised;

Improving healthcare and combating substance abuse;

Social cohesion and nation building; and

Optimising the youth development machinery.

"The NYDA is also being strengthened through amending the NYDA Act so that the agency can have footprints at provincial and local levels.

"The NYDA amendment Bill has been finalised and would be taken to Parliament very soon. It is clear that the youth development agenda is being intensified."

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