INVESTING IN YOUNG PEOPLE IS THE FOUNDATION FOR ENSURING PROSPERITY, PEACE AND STABILITY- PRESIDENT LUNGU

 

SPEECH BY

HIS EXCELLENCY MR. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE MEETING OF MINISTERS IN-CHARGE OF YOUTH AFFAIRS FROM MEMBER STATES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA, 9TH JUNE, 2017

LET ME WELCOME YOU TO ZAMBIA AND IN PARTICULAR, TO THE CITY OF LIVINGSTONE, OUR CHERISHED TOURIST CAPITAL.  THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA ARE HONOURED TO HOST THIS MEETING.

LET ME EXPRESS MY PROFOUND GRATITUDE TO THE SECRETARIAT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION AND THE OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL ENVOY OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL TO THE GREAT LAKES, FOR THE JOINT INITIATIVE TO ORGANISE THIS IMPORTANT MEETING IN ZAMBIA.

LET ME ALSO COMMEND THE TECHNICAL SUPPORT COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONAL OVER-SIGHT MECHANISM FOR ENSURING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMITMENTS OF THE PEACE, SECURITY AND COOPERATION FRAMEWORK FOR THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) AND THE REGION FOLLOWING SIGNATURE BY THIRTEEN COUNTRIES IN ADDIS ABABA, ON 24TH FEBRUARY, 2013.

I WISH TO IMPLORE THE OFFICES OF THE SPECIAL ENVOY OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL AND THE SECRETARIAT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE GREAT LAKES REGION, AS GUARANTORS OF THE PEACE, SECURITY AND COOPERATION FRAMEWORK, TO CONTINUE SUPPORTING PROGRAMMES AIMED AT FOSTERING PEACE AND STABILITY IN OUR REGION.

FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE AND STABILITY, YOUNG PEOPLE MUST PLAY THEIR VITAL ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR ECONOMIES.  INVESTING IN YOUNG PEOPLE IS THE FOUNDATION FOR ENSURING PROSPERITY, PEACE AND STABILITY.

SEVERAL COUNTRIES IN OUR REGION HAVE BEEN DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY IMPACTED BY POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND CRISIS, RESULTING IN DISPLACEMENTS AND HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCIES.  THESE SITUATIONS, COUPLED WITH LIMITED EMPLOYMENT AND EMPOWERMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE YOUTH, PROVIDE A FERTILE GROUND FOR RECRUITMENT OF YOUTH INTO EXTREMIST GROUPS WHICH PERPETUATE VIOLENCE INCLUDING ARMED CONFLICT.

THIS, THEREFORE, CALLS FOR URGENT NEED BY THE REGION TO VIGOROUSLY IMPLEMENT DECISIONS AND INITIATIVES TO CREATE OPTIMAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE YOUTH.

THE AU HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT DIRECTED THE SECRETARIAT TO DEVELOP A REGIONAL STRATEGY TO ADDRESS YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT. I AM HAPPY THAT THIS REGIONAL STRATEGY IS READY AND WILL BE TABLED BEFORE THIS MEETING.

I, THEREFORE, URGE YOU, HONOURABLE MINISTERS, TO CRITICALLY ANALYSE THE PROVISIONS OF THIS DOCUMENT TO DETERMINE HOW CHALLENGES OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT WILL BE ADDRESSED.

WE HAVE A DUTY TO ERADICATE POVERTY AND SEEK WAYS TO INTEGRATE THE YOUTH IN THE REGION’S SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.  MEMBER STATES OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION MUST TAKE INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE MEASURES AIMED AT INTEGRATING THE YOUTH INTO THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENDA.

SOME OF THE MEASURES MEMBER STATES MAY WISH TO IMPLEMENT TO ACHIEVE AND REALISE THE RIGHTS AND POTENTIAL OF THE YOUTH INCLUDE:

DEVELOPING MACROECONOMIC POLICIES THAT FOCUS ON JOB CREATION PARTICULARLY FOR WOMEN AND YOUTH;

REGULATING THE INFORMAL ECONOMY IN ORDER TO PREVENT UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES WHERE THE MAJORITY OF YOUTH WORK;

ENHANCING THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF RURAL AREAS TO THE YOUTH BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL, HEALTH, RECREATIONAL AND CULTURAL SERVICES;

TRAINING THE YOUTH TO TAKE UP AGRICULTURE, AQUACULTURE, MINERAL, COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES TO GAIN ACCESS TO MARKETS;

PROVIDING LAND TO THE YOUTH FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT;

FACILITATING ACCESS TO CREDIT TO PROMOTE YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOOD PROJECTS;

FACILITATING THE PARTICIPATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGIES;

FOSTERING GREATER LINKAGES BETWEEN THE LABOUR MARKET AND TRAINING SYSTEMS TO ENSURE THAT CURRICULA ARE ALIGNED TO THE NEEDS OF THE LABOUR MARKET;

PROMOTING YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP BY INCLUDING ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING IN THE SCHOOL CURRICULA, PROVIDING ACCESS TO CREDIT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SKILLS TRAINING, MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AND BETTER INFORMATION ON MARKET OPPORTUNITIES;

PROVIDING INCENTIVE SCHEMES FOR EMPLOYERS TO INVEST IN SKILLS DEVELOPMENT FOR YOUTHS; AND

ENSURING EQUAL ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT AND EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK AND PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION OF ANY SORTS

THESE MEASURES SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED IN THE CONTEXT OF EACH COUNTRY’S RESPECTIVE STATUTES.  THE REGION MUST ALSO ENSURE THAT EVERY YOUNG PERSON HAS THE RIGHT TO GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT, PROTECTED FROM ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION, ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION AND HEALTH SERVICES.

 THE YOUTH HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO DEFEND DEMOCRACY, THE RULE OF LAW AND ALL HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS.

THE YOUTH ARE CUSTODIANS OF THEIR OWN DEVELOPMENT.  THEREFORE, AS GOVERNMENTS, OUR ROLE IS TO CREATE AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT TO FACILITATE THEIR DEVELOPMENT.

LET ME THEREFORE CONCLUDE BY URGING MINISTERS PRESENT HERE, TO DESIGN PROGRAMMES WHICH WOULD ENABLE THE YOUTH TO REALISE THEIR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS THEIR FAMILIES, SOCIETY, STATE AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

IN THE SAME VEIN, THE YOUTH MUST ENSURE THAT OUR REGION IS PEACEFUL AND STABLE.  THEY MUST PROMOTE TOLERANCE, UNDERSTANDING, DIALOGUE, CONSULTATION AND RESPECT FOR OTHERS REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, ETHNICITY, COLOUR, GENDER, RELIGIOUS STATUS OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION.

LET ME NOW TAKE THIS MOMENT TO DECLARE THIS OFFICIALLY OPENED.

I WISH YOU ALL FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS.

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