Challenges faced by youths in Africa are basically the same from one country to another. Surprisingly, these challenges are an everyday song for every government that come in and go out of governance. In Zambia, the population of the country as of December 2016 stands at 16.53 million people with 4.8 million being youths between 15 and 35 and most challenges faced include; Unemployment, Lack of financial support to get into college or university and lack of capital to engage in entrepreneurship activities. (Population and Demography of Zambia, 2016)
Many young people despite having necessary qualifications for various job opportunities find themselves being used by political figures as tools to take them in power with some hope to have a job once their political “christs” are elected, however their dreams and hopes die a natural death as employment opportunities remain scare despite a thousand promises.
For some, entrance to tertiary schools is another challenge as fees for various higher learning institutions keep rising every year. With most Zambian families sleeping on less than a dollar per day on meals, such skyrocketing university fees become a hindrance for many young people to live their dream. (Zambia Daily Mail, 9th April 2015).
With Job opportunities becoming scarce today, the call from government to young people has been to engage in entrepreneurship activities, its however general knowledge that for one to engage in such activities, they need money, they need starter up capital but even opportunities such as the Youth Empowerment Fund meant to be given to youths with skills in various fields for self-sufficiency still remain a thorn in many youths foot as distribution of these monies only benefits a few, preferably youths from the ruling parties.
With the above said, it is important to highlight some of the opportunities that young people in Zambia must be availed with to become independent and contribute positively to the development of the country and these include; engaging them in intensive entrepreneurship trainings, Creating Business opportunities for them to invest in and possibly, government and concerned stakeholders must find a way of making education at all levels attainable and accessible by all. (V. Mwale. 2015)
It is undisputable fact that many young people today live their lives with a dependency syndrome, however, if equipped with knowledge of various entrepreneurship skill, it will help them become self-sufficient and become their own bosses.
For those with skills in various fields, opportunities that benefit all (and not just a minority group) must be created to help them earn a living from their skills, talents and professions.
With education being key at all levels, it is only important that it is made affordable for all especially those with financial constraints, there should policies in place that allow them to be in school and get the right training. One of such policies could affordable tertiary educational loans which may be made payable once one completes their course and are given employment by the government or stakeholder who provided the loan to allow them to pay it back and sustain their lives.
When the above are made possible and not just policies as has been the case in most government manifestos and plans, most youths will become productive and not tools of violence in elections and many other governance
By Kazungo, Emmanuel
CSO. 2016. Population and Demography of Zambia: Zambia, Lusaka.
Kaingu, M. (2015). Students loan scheme launch on. Zambia Daily Mail, 9th April, (P.3-4)
Mwale, V. 2015. Ministry of Local Governemt and Housing: An Action Plan for Youth Empowerment and Emplyment. Zambia, Lusaka.
Internet extract: Education in Zambia: https://www.globalpartnership.org/country/zambia