Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia Nelly Mutti says youth participation and representation in institutional political processes and policy making has remained low globally and led to the relegation of youths.
Ms. Mutti said this low participation and representation of youths has led to the marginalization, loss of confidence in the country’s political systems and a waste of creative ideas and skills among youths.
“Globally, youth participation and representation in institutional political processes and policy making remains relatively low. Few youths are found in Parliaments, public administration and decision-making positions. As a result, their participation, in many cases, has been relegated to places such as social media” she said.
Speaking when she officially launched the Zambia Youth Parliamentary Caucus ZYPC, Ms. Mutti said the National Assembly established the ZYPC to create a platform for the youth to engage the institution of Parliament on issues that affect them.
She said the creation of a platform for the youths can bridge the gap between the Youth and Parliament and increase youth participation.
The Speaker further said the ZYPC will contribute to strengthening national, regional and international democracies, and enable governments tackle various challenges and achieve developmental goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals, most of which pertain to the welfare of young people.
“You will note that over one third of the one hundred and sixty-nine targets of the SDGs, relate to young people and the importance of their empowerment, participation and well-being. This underscores the critical role that the youth ought to play in order to achieve the SDGs and social economic development” she added.
And speaking at the same occasion, Zambia Youth Parliamentary Caucus Chairperson Jean Chisenga said it is important for formal platforms such as the ZYPC to be formed for youths in order for young people to be able to participate actively in creating their future.
Ms. Chisenga, who is also Mamblilima Member of Parliament has thanked the Speaker, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, fellow Members of Parliament and other stakeholders involved in the process of forming the Caucus.
She has since called on other organizations to come on board to support the Caucus.
“As I agree with Agbana, I would like to add that for youngs to actively participate in creating their own future, formal platforms must be established for them,” she said.
Meanwhile, ActionAid Country Director Nalucha Ziba said youths worldwide and in Zambia face a lot of several challenges which act as a hindrance to the country’s economic development.
Ms. Ziba said the large youth population raises questions of youth participation, integration and lack of reference points for solutions.
She said youth participation in matters of national interest is important as youths have the energy, enthusiasm, innovation and dynamism that can be harnessed for Africa’s development.
Ms. Ziba noted that innovations such as the ZYPC could produce solutions to the problems faced by youths.
“The Youth, not only have the advantage of numbers but the energy, enthusiasm, innovation and dynamism that can be harnessed for Africa’s development with appropriate policies that address the issues they face” she said.
The Zambia Youth Parliamentary Caucus has been established under the theme: Bridging the gap between Parliament and the Youth.