Unacceptably High Numbers of Young Zambians are Experiencing Poor Education and Employment Outcomes


By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party

Today, there are 3,491404 (male 1,744,843/female 1,746,561) aged between 15-24, accounting for 20.03 per cent of Zambia’s population.

The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving a sustainable, inclusive and stable nation, and to averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration.

While all other areas of human endeavour are important, if we don’t prioritise education and employment very little will be achieved in improving the conditions of our young people. Education and employment are fundamental to overall youth development.

Unacceptably high numbers of young Zambians are experiencing poor education and employment outcomes. In education, many youth of upper secondary age are out of school, and upper secondary enrolment rates are low. Moreover, many of the poorest 12- to 14-year olds have never attended school, and many of the youth of the future are still unable to obtain an acceptable primary education.

In most of our rural areas, young women face particular challenges in terms of securing and completing an education. Youth employment has worsened in recent years. Unemployment among youth ages 15-24 stands at 24 per cent (male: 23.6 per cent/female: 24.4 per cent). Many of our young people are in precarious or informal work. And most of them are living in poverty even though they are employed.

The challenges of securing and retaining decent work are even more serious and complex for vulnerable and marginalised youth including young women, youth with disabilities. While entrepreneurship offers opportunities for some youth, a diverse and robust employment strategy must include options and opportunities for all our young people.

We need to start building successful programmes that address the individual and socio-economic contexts in which our young people actually live, rather than simply repeating the skills-for-employability rhetoric which supposes that there are formal sector jobs available if only young people were not so unprepared.

Equally, such programmes view entrepreneurship practically, as a part of livelihood strategy, rather than through an ideological lens. They believe young people can succeed in business but need support and face risks.

It is important to recognise that the human rights and flourishing of youth are about more than successful transitions to employment. Young people have aspirations that are far broader and that need to be valued and supported. Approaches that focus on prioritising youth participation, respecting youth rights, and addressing youth aspirations are key.
Rather than focusing on narrow measures of educational or employment attainment, it is crucial that suffient attention is paid to young people’s own accounts of what they value for their human development and for the sustainable development of their communities.


  1. The levels of unemployment are unacceptably high considering the billions lungu has indebted zambia with…….

    No wounder the moron is paranoid. By now PF should not even be campaigning but riding on a wave of popularity driven by high employment, high exports…..

    But instead the moron has been reduced to diverting cash from service delivery and development to bribing voters with cash handouts.

    The ineptitude of lungu is mind numbing.

  2. You know you are losing election so now you start picking on nonsensical trivial matters which you have never spoken about. So ka mmembe has only realised this issue today. Fuseke

  3. PF is destroying Zambia left and right. These thugs are only good for letting the Chinese loot and mistreat Zambians and nothing else.

  4. BA MMEMBE I DID NOT THINK THAT YOU WERE THAT DULL. THERE ARE THINGS WHICH WERE NOT IMPLEMENTED AFTER GAINING OUR “POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE”. THESE ARE SERIOUS INFRASTRUCTURE. Industrialisation can only prevail in the presence of serious infrastructure. Infrastructural facilities accommodates/enables industrialisation and in turn industrialisation creates massive employment opportunities. How would you have developped without power and reasonably a good number of road infrasture? What has brought the poor economic performance in Zambia are mainly three things: lack of adequate power, continouous draughts and COVID-19. Now that there’s power and meaningful infrastructure we can begin to industrialise. Mwilabwata bwata fye pantu ufwile ukulandapo fimo nangu ifyo walalanda FINTU FYABOLA.

  5. #4  wise timing 
    March 18, 2021 At 12:39 pm

    “……What has brought the poor economic performance in Zambia are mainly three things: lack of adequate power, continouous draughts and COVID-19……..”

    When you ask these same rats why all other countries faced the same problems yet zambia has the worst economic indicators of them all, they take cover , or blame HH……..

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