PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has requested the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency’s help to stop the migration of African youths to overseas countries’ for greener pastures.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
Many youths are leaving due to the high unemployment rate, with Zimbabwe reaching over 80%, and end up doing menial jobs in other countries such as Britain.
NEPAD is an initiative of the African Union (AU) and was adopted in 2001 by African leaders, with the primary objectives of poverty eradication, promotion of sustainable growth and development, and the empowerment of women through building genuine partnerships at country, regional and global levels.
Mugabe raised the issue yesterday at the the official opening of the 34th NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) meeting at the 26th AU Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He said the migration of youths was a worrying matter and must be addressed urgently.
“The migration of African youths is an issue of serious concern that has to be addressed urgently. Not only does it dent our image as Africa, but slows our economic development endeavours. We cannot continue to allow a situation where our able-bodied men and women embark on a risky and perilous journey across the oceans in search of a supposedly better world,” Mugabe said.
“In this context, I wish to call on the NEPAD Agency in creating facilities to equip our youths with the necessary skills that guarantee them employment opportunities. In addition, the agency is called upon to assist in the creation of small businesses and industries, targeting women and youths so that the need to migrate is minimised.”
He said Africa needed to benefit from its critical human resource, the young people, whose respective governments must nurture them to enable their meaningful participation in national development efforts.
A new report by the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) said the major Diaspora destinations for Zimbabweans are the United Kingdom, Botswana and South Africa.
Of the respondents that took part, 29% said they left the country for better career opportunities that mainly consists of youths aged between 20 and 29 years of age.
In a further breakdown of the demographics of those who leave the country, youths make up the majority with 40%, while those aged 50 and over are 33%.
Interestingly enough, when those living abroad were interviewed over whether they desired to come back to the country, less than a third of the respondents in all age groups indicated a desire to return to Zimbabwe within three to five years.