National Youth Policy and Advocacy
Farai from Zambia here. Zambia does have a National Youth Policy. The goal of this policy is to promote the welfare of the youth by safeguarding their rights,highlighting the problems that the youth are facing and developing programmes that can address these problems, create an enabling environment for the the youth to develop and reach their full potential. One of the strategies is to develop youth enterprise programme by incorporating basic skills and training as well as small scale business management. It also seeks to provide basic skills training facilities (through consolidation of existing skills training centres), infrastructure, finance, business advisory services and extension services to youth entrepreneurs. Another initiative that the national youth policy endeavours to do is the incorporation of basic skills and business training in the school curriculum.
In Zambia we are currently using the National Youth Policy of 2006 which was a revision from the 1994 National Youth Policy which was the first. The reason for the revision was because of the changes in Zambia and the rest of the world and emerging challenges of poverty, HIV & AIDS, unemployment and other health and health related issues that have negatively affected the youth.
The guiding principles of our youth policy are • Equity, accessibility and gender inclusiveness • HIV & AIDS, Impact Mitigation • Youth participation • Communication • Human rights
As to whether the youth policy identifies youth entrepreneurship as a key element towards national economic development it can be said to a large extent it does. It can be said that it identifies youth entrepreneurship as one of the key elements. It is believed that youth entrepreneurship development would promote sustainable livelihood among the youth to reduce poverty and enhance living standards. It is through the National Youth Policy that in 2010, the government and cooperating partners set up a youth development fund amounting to 5 billion kwacha, which was released for the youth businesses. Other components on the entrepreneurship components are the skills trainings and resettlement schemes of the youth.
Apart from the national youth policy of 2006, there are other national policy frameworks that complement the youth policy. One such document is the recently launched 6th National Development Plan. This policy framework is supposed to be used for the next five years (I stand to be corrected) and it has a component that addresses youth employment/ entrepreneurship. Another policy framework that is currently being used in promoting entrepreneurship/employment is the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission. This is a fund that has been set up to provide financial resources to business people and it has a component specifically for youth, women, agriculture etc. As to whether these three policies are working in tandem is really hard to tell for reasons of implementation.