Wednesday, November 16, 2011



Director of Ceremonies
The Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe,
Amai J. T. Mujuru
The Honourable Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe,
Professor A. O.G.Mutambara
Honourable Government Ministers
Acting Secretary for Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Mr. G.Magosvongwe
Your Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Honourable Members of Parliament
Senior Government Officials here present
Representatives of our Development Partners
Chairman –Zimbabwe Youth Council and Board Members
Youth Representatives
Invited Guests, Ladies and gentlemen

 VP Joyce Mujuru receives cheque from Old Mutual CEO Luke Ngwerume

It is my pleasure and honour to make a few remarks today as we commemorate Africa Youth Day under the theme, ‘Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’. This is the fifth year since the AfricanUnion declared November 1 as Africa Day to recognise the importance and benefits of youth participation in national development and peace building initiatives in Africa. In many countries in Africa, youngpeople have been at the forefront of initiatives that drive for change in order to attain peace, unity and development. In Zimbabwe, it was young men and women who made the decision to give up schooling and mobilize others in order to ensure liberation of all Zimbabweans. So, today, as we commemorate Africa Youth Day, I would like us to focus on what the day means for us and how we can pursue our national goals.

FIRST, all young Zimbabweans must reaffirm their national commitment to promote and protect their social, political and economic rights as well as to address the inherent challenges facing young people today.

The 3 main goals for youth and all Zimbabweans are to promote peace, unity and development. The purpose for our liberation struggle was to achieve these three goals. Our National Emblem reminds that we must pursue these goals in all our actions and interactions as Zimbabweans.

However, today, young Zimbabweans face serious challenges in achieving these 3 goals.

Unemployment is the greatest challenge facing Zimbabwean youth. More than 50 percent of children who register for grade one do not pass or complete Grade 7. Moreover, more than 80 percent of those who make it to secondary school do not register for lower fifth. Over 300,000 young people drop out of school each year.

Out of a total population of 14.5 million Zimbabweans, there are more than 6 million young Zimbabweans who are not enjoying the fruits of if their young predecessors. Many are roamingon the streets of towns and villages throughout the country. They are not invisible, but they are visible by their idleness, by not having clear goals for their lives and most importantly by their inability to support themselves and their families. They have no reason to be happy and proud. They are unable to make
decisions to help themselves. This is a shameful situation for all Zimbabweans.

Another sign of youth poverty is that they are vulnerable to violence. We have seen in recent weeks the increasing number of incidences of violence. The reason is because many are idle and not employed. They have become vulnerable to the whims of cheap politicians who hope to gain support through violence.

Violence will deter youth from reaching their goals. Violence damages relations between youth and threatens the unity that is needed in order to live in harmony and engage in jobs or income generating activities.

It is very difficult to repair the damage caused by violence once it has happened. I am therefore appealing to all youth to make conscious decisions to shun violence. Say NO to any situation
that leads to violence. Work hard on being tolerant of each other. Openly discourage perpetrators. Refuse to be involved. Name the perpetrators. Disgrace them.

My SECOND point today is to urge young people to direct themselves to opportunities for becoming self employed or to become employed. There are great many opportunities for youth to become
entrepreneurs in all sectors.

The mandate of the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment is to ensure that all young Zimbabweans are able to be economically empowered through entrepreneurship and business development. Youth face challenges of not having the right knowledge and skills to start businesses and also not having equipment and loans to run their businesses.

My Ministry has programmes to help youth identify viable businesses in the areas where they live. We also have training programmes to provide skills to youth so they are able to start their
businesses. Training provides the basic skills for empowerment. Youth skills’ training is either at Vocational Training Centres or in the places where youth live. The programmes try to reach every ward in Zimbabwe.

In addition, my Ministry helps young people start businesses and also join cooperatives and savings clubs to better manage the income.

Most importantly, the Ministry has established Youth Development Fund (called YDF) to help give credit and loans to young people to start and grow their businesses. Since we started the YDF 3 years ago, several young people have benefitted. Many have grown their businesses and are becoming noticeably productive and respected members of their families and communities.

The YDF works with business and banking partners who commit their own funds to support youth businesses. Government is pleased with the progress so far.

TODAY we witness the launch of another successful partnership to add loan funds for Youth Empowerment. Old Mutual Private Limited has committed 11million dollars for Youth Economic
Empowerment. This is a very significant amount that will see every province receive over 1million dollars to help youth business projects. This is indeed a major contribution.

On behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, I wish to commend our greatest appreciation for the Old Mutual’s decision to partner with government. These funds make it possible to establish for MANY opportunities for youth business from being producers of basic products in mining and agriculture, to the millions of opportunities in manufacturing and processing of products – any products.

Given their energy, enthusiasm and innovativeness, young people have the potential to contribute immensely to the social and economic development of Zimbabwe. They must be placed at the
forefront of building the economy of the country.

The Old Mutual Youth Empowerment Fund opens the doors to make it possible to engage in discussion and debates about where the best opportunities for the greatest number of youth businesses.We are able to ask the questions. How can youth be the drivers of the national economy while at the same time supporting their livelihoods? How can youth help eradicate poverty in Africa? Where should the greatest
investments be in training, infrastructure, equipment, marketing, exports? What are the future industry scenarios that take into account youth as the major human resource?

I would like to take this opportunity to invite other businesses and financial institutions to partner with
government programmes to empower youth and build Zimbabwe.

My Ministry, along with the National indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, has recently approached the Ministry of Finance to activate a levy in order to generate additional funds to
the youth empowerment programme. I hope to secure cooperation and concurrence from the Ministry of Finance by the end of next week in order to provide a viable platform to financially empower youth across the whole nation and across the political divide. The Inclusive Government owes the youths of this country such a redeeming economic dispensation. There are no options about it.

IN CLOSING, I wish to thank all those who have attended this important day. This includes representatives of businesses, tertiary institutions, youth associations, students, and youth from all walks of life. I also wish to thank all Government Ministries and Departments that have joined us today.

We commend our partners in Old Mutual for their commitment and dedication during the whole preparatory process prior to this great launch of the Youth Development Fund.

Finally, I wish to wholeheartedly appreciate the efforts of the many individuals and organizations that are supporting youth development and empowerment efforts. It is through such cooperation that we can achieve the goals of peace, unity and development that have persisted for so long among Zimbabweans.


Honorable Saviour Kasukuwere (M.P)
Zimbabwe Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment