President Edgar Lungu has launched the 2015 National Youth Policy and Action Plan on Empower and Employment which he says must result in the creation of more than 500,000 jobs for the youth by the end of 2016.President Lungu described it as a momentous and historic day for the government as the launch of the 2015 Youth Policy is the first ever action plan for Youth empowerment and employment.
President Lungu said the Launch of the two documents marks an end of an era of politics that promotes handouts and rhetoric that succeeds only on scoring short term political mileage at the expense of long term sustainable national and youth development goals.
Speaking during the launch of the two documents in Lusaka this morning, President Lungu said the 500,000 jobs will be created through implementation of the national apprenticeship and internship schemes which should create employment for the unskilled youth within participating companies, expansion of low interest credit facilities targeting new and growing youth-led enterprises, and provision of ongoing business support services including mentorship to youth-led businesses.
The President has directed all line ministries and sectors to offer preferential treatment to qualified youth -led enterprises in awarding contracts and in the public procurement process.
He also directed the Ministry of youth and sport to be pro-active in ensuring that there is proper coordination of youth empowerment programmes across all sectors.
President Lungu said he expects the Ministries of Finance and Youth and Sport to work together on the modalities of achieving this.
The Head of State has since directed all State and non State actors to immediately start mainstreaming youth empowerment at all levels.
He has also reiterated his call to the youth to reflect on their obligations, responsibilities and contributions towards national development, as government continues to create opportunities for youth empowerment.
Speaking earlier, UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan commended the Zambian government for launching the National Youth Policy and Action Plan to coincide with the International Youth Day which falls today under the theme “Youth Civic Engagement”.
And Youth and Sport Minister Vincent Mwale has observed that by personally officiating at the launch of the Youth Policy and Action Plan, President Lungu has demonstrated his commitment to addressing issues affecting youths in the country.