By ANTHONY MULOWA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has suggested that Africa should come up with comprehensive solutions designed to transform sectors of the continent that will offer employment opportunities to unemployed youth.
Mr Lungu, however, noted that while it had been established that there were a number of youth employment initiatives, with many focused on technical and vocational training and education, there were no comprehensive solutions for transforming the continent’s sectors.
“Now that the member States have embarked on the implementation of the first 10-year implementation plan of the Agenda 2063, which is transformative in nature, the need for comprehensive solutions that are innovative and designed for the transformational sectors of the continent cannot be over emphasised,” he said.
President Lungu made the observation in his statement during the 34th New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee meeting at the 26th African Union (AU) summit here yesterday.
He urged NEPAD to put in place comprehensive solutions that would contribute to the transformation of the continent.
He said Zambia appreciated NEPAD’s adoption of a clustering approach of skills development and mainstreaming job creation for the African youth into development of continental programmes.
Mr Lungu said Zambia was confident that the clustering approach would increase the impact and sustainability of continental programmes while promoting skills development for the youth.
“My delegation commends the NEPAD agency for coming up with a concept note on the African continental framework on youth employment.
“We are in no doubt that its implementation can greatly contribute to the full utilisation of the capacities of our youth for Africa’s desired transformation,” he said.
Mr Lungu said in future, the coordination role of NEPAD would be very cardinal in achieving the objectives of the Agenda 2063 and its first 10 year implementation plan.
“This places a mammoth task on NEPAD than ever before to coordinate a cluster of solutions around Africa’s transformational sectors that will result in spurring job creation for citizens and in particular for the youths,” he said.
He said in the implementation of the Agenda 2063, NEPAD’s coordination role should be clearly defined so that all stakeholders knew exactly what is expected of the organisation.
Speaking earlier, during the official opening of the 34th NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee meeting at the 26th African Union (AU) summit, AU chairperson and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Africa had continued to lose the youthful population as a result of migrations.
Mr Mugabe said migration of African youths was a source of concern and needed to be halted by empowering them.
“We can’t continue to allow a situation where our able bodied men and women embark on risky and perilous journeys across the oceans in search of supposedly better life,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe was in the process of opening a Pan African University of Minerals, Science and Technology which would open its doors to other African countries and would offer postgraduate studies to the youths.
Mr Mugabe said there was need for Africa to increase capacity and add value to its minerals instead of exporting them raw form.
African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma said member states were making progress in achieving some of the targets in the Agenda 2063 as evidenced by massive infrastructure projects in all the states.
President Lungu also attended the United Nations (UN) Security Council reforms ahead of the AU summit that opens today.
On the UN security reforms, the President supported the adoption of the report on the position of Africa on the matter.