ABOUT 83% of the country’s youths are unemployed due to decreased capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector, an International Youth Foundation (IFY) official has said.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
This came as most youths, categorised within the age group of between 15 and 35 years, are currently unemployed.
Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines at the launch of the Buy Zimbabwe Employability Programme, IFY country director, Pamela Chiromo said the huge youth unemployment rate was largely due to a shrinking capacity base in the manufacturing sector.
“From our statistics, when you look at the age group of between 15 and 34, in terms of the population, which is 67%, 83% of those youth are unemployed. It is mainly because of the shrinking capacity utilisation. I know they talk about that statistics between 36% and 39%, but I believe they are much lower than that,” he said.
“I think that you have seen the number of companies that have closed down. I think when you look at the employment sector, 80% are really informal, so as IYF we try and address the entrepreneurial skills in that sector.
She said most of the employment in the country was in the informal sector and that there were opportunities that can be found within that space.
According to data from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), 55 414 employees lost their jobs as a result of 4 610 company closures between 2010 and 2014.
The Buy Zimbabwe Employability Programme targets the 18 to 35 years age group in order to put youths in jobs and create entrepreneurs with the drive to hire employees. The programme is in partnership with the IFY and is expected to bring on board other partners in the future.
Buy Zimbabwe vice chairperson, Oswell Binha said the programme was ideal and would develop the human capital in the country.
“This programme comes at an ideal time where we are asking the new and the old economy where are we going? What is the calibre of the human capital we have? And how do we develop the human capital for the future. This programme targets young people from between 18 and 35 years,” he said.
“So what we are saying is that the Zimbabwean youth might be very educated, but are not necessarily skilled. So what we are saying are they employable, which is a question we need to answer. It is not an issue of quantity it is an issue of quality and this is where we come in.”
Currently, Zimbabwe’s harsh economic environment is forcing the country’s labour force out of the country in search for more lucrative and enticing pastures. A report by the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre said the major Diaspora destinations for youths seeking work are the United Kingdom, Botswana and South Africa.
Youths make up the majority of those who leave at 40%, while those aged 50 and over are 33%.