His excellency, dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, president of the republic of Zambia
During the 2021 national youth day celebrations
Friday, 12th march, 2021
” enhancing national development through sustainable youth partnerships”
Her ladyship Mrs. Ireen Mambilima, chief justice of the republic of Zambia;
Hon. Dr. Patrick Matibini SC, speaker of the national assembly;
Mr. Davies Mwila, secretary general of the patriotic front;
Members of the central committee of the patriotic front;
Hon. Emmanuel Mulenga MP, minister of youth, sport and child development;
Hon. Cabinet ministers;
Leaders of political parties;
Dr. Simon Miti, secretary to the Cabinet;
His worship, Mr. Miles Sampa, mayor of the greater city of Lusaka;
Senior government officials;
Your excellencies, the ambassadors, high commissioners and country representatives of international agencies accredited to the republic of Zambia;
The youth of Zambia;
members of the press;
distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure and honour today, as we commemorate the national youth day. Every year on 12th march, we commemorate the national youth day. This day provides an opportunity for the zambian youth to express their views on issues affecting their wellbeing. It is a day to reflect on the rights, opportunities and freedoms of the youth as well as on their obligations, responsibilities and contributions towards national development.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
This year’s youth day is being commemorated under the theme “enhancing national development through sustainable youth partnerships.”
The theme entails that the government is fully committed to partner with the youth in order to foster national development. My government will continue to support the youth in various sectors in order to prevent them from engaging in vices, that often times destroy their future.
To this effect, my government has put in place policies that provide guidance on the development and engagement of the youths, such as, the seventh national development plan, national youth policy, industrialisation and job creation strategy and the action plan for youth empowerment and employment.
These policies are a clear demonstration of my government’s renewed commitment towards uplifting the living standards of our youths, as they advocate for a coherent, multi-sectoral and mainstreamed approach to youth empowerment and employment creation.
I, therefore, urge all public and private actors to fully focus on youth participation and enhance efforts towards mainstreaming youths in all your programmes. It is only through mainstreaming that we shall be creating optimal opportunities for our youths.
In the same vein, i urge the youth to rise to the occassion and participate fully in all matters that affect their well-being and the country’s development at large.
As enshrined in the theme for the seventh national development plan, which reads –accelerating development efforts towards vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind – we can only enhance national development through partnerships with the youth. Furthermore, the only way the youth partnerships can be sustainable is when the youth are empowered.
Our population is predominantly youthful with the energetic, innovative and productive age group of eighteen to thirty-five years constituting thirty-six percent of the total population. I, therefore, take cognisance of the critical role they play in the development process of our country.
My government has provided enablers such as empowerment programmes and has invested huge sums of money for this purpose.
For instance, my government has disbursed a sum of 470 million kwacha to the ministry of youth, sport, and child development for youth empowerment, targeting 150,000 youths to venture into various empowerment projects.
In addition, my government has also provided opportunities under the aquaculture value chain as well as the tourism sector. I, therefore, urge the youths to take this opportunity to engage themselves in various empowerment projects to contribute to the development of the nation.
The patriotic front manifesto advocates for youths to play a leading role in the development of the country, as such my government continues to prioritise youth development. Tremendous progress has been made in youth development through a number of empowerment programmes under the multi-sectorial youth empowerment programme.
So far, seven provinces have benefited and the process is on-going.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Some of the empowerment programmes that my government is implementing include the following:
- Transport empowerment
My government is targeting one thousand eight hundred (1,800) youths to benefit from the transport empowerment programme. The transport programme ranges from taxis, minibuses and fuel tanker trucks.
My government through the ministry of youth, sport and child development has already procured fifty (50) fuel tankers. Twenty-five (25) are already in the country and two have already been given to the youths to start operating.
Today, my government is empowering twenty-five (25) cooperatives of young people with a fuel tanker each, affirming government’s commitment to sustainable youth partnerships in national development. I urge the youth who are benefitting from these tankers to guard this empowerment jealously and ensure they significantly contribute to quality life for your families and ultimately to the development of our country.
- Milling plants
Through the ministry of youth, sport and child development, my government is targeting to reach 2,200 youths who can establish milling plants. The youths will be linked to available markets for production of mealie meal, cassava meal and stockfeed. The project is aimed at contributing to job creation and employment for over 1,000 youths along the value chain.
- Micro small and medium enterprises
My government is providing start up capital to youths who are engaged in micro, small and medium enterprises to boost their businesses on loan basis as this will in turn enable them grow and be able to employ their fellow youths. Over 55,000 youths dealing in micro, small and medium scale businesses have been targeted with direct and indirect benefit from this project.
My government has provided start up capital ranging from k10,000 to k30,000 per cooperative, targeting 1,000 youths engaged in various agricultural activities. These may be general agriculture, poultry, fish farming, livestock rearing, and gardening. The funds amounting to over k29 million were disbursed to all the provinces for this programme.
I urge the youths, especially those from the rural arears of the country to seize such opportunities so that they can improve their livelihoods and generate more income for themselves and their families.
- Education and skills development
My government has continued investing in skills development through various interventions such as the skills development fund under the technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training authority (teveta) and construction and rehabilitation of learning institutions. The aim is to empower and make practical skills accessible to many youths and enable them seize opportunities that continue to emerge in the construction, metal and timber processing industries and information communication technology.
Let me also state that my government, through the ministry of youth, sport and child development removed 350 youths from the streets in order to reintergrate them back to society. The youths are being empowered with skills at the zambia national service youth skills centres.
- Internship and apprenticeship
Noting the limited number of job opportunities in the country and that over 50,000 graduates exit tertiary institutions every year, my government has put in place a deliberate policy to address issues of youth employment and empowerment.
Most advertised jobs require one to have 3-5 years work experience. This poses a challenge for the young graduates and contributes to many youths being unemployed. Therefore, the apprenticeship programme is aimed at linking youths to various institutions, both public and private as apprentices for a period of not less than fifteen (15) months.
My government is providing stipend per month to the youths under this programme. The programme is targeting 9,000 youths and so far, 6,000 youths have been placed on internship and apprenticeship.
My dear youth,
My government remains committed to involving you in the governance of our country. So when you are empowered, guard what you have been given jealously. National development can be enhanced through sustainable partnerships between you and my government.
Fellow countrymen and women,
We have continued creating a better zambia for all by providing inspirational and visionary leadership to the nation and promoting inclusive governance.
Therefore, as the nation prepares for the general elections this year, i call for openness, transparency, cooperation, peace, mutual understanding and respect among all political players and stakeholders.
I challenge you the youth to participate fully in the electoral process and aspire for leadership positions. I also call upon you to reject political violence as it cannot only destroy our country but could cost you a life. We only have one country. We need to guard jealously the peace that we are enjoying. My government shall continue to ensure that the country and the citizens enjoy peace ahead of this year’s general elections and that the law will take its full course on any erring individuals.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
let me end by thanking organisations and cooperating partners, who have jointly worked with my government in making this year’s youth day commemoration successful. I further wish to thank you the youth of zambia, through various youth organizations, government ministries, political parties, private sectors and public institutions for your participation.
May god bless the youths of this great nation
I thank you all.