Youths told to raise voice in policymaking

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has urged youth entrepreneurs to actively participate in developmental discussions being undertaken prior to the adoption of the second phase of the economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).

By Tinotenda Munyukwi

Consultations are already underway for ZimAsset II, expected to run until 2023 succeeding its initial phase that was rolled out in 2013 after being given a five-year timeline.

Addressing young agriculture entrepreneurs who attended the opening ceremony of the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU)-organised Youth Agriprenuership summit held in the capital on Tuesday, UNDP country director Georges van Montfort said youths in business had more leverage to lobby for strong policies that can benefit their generation in the formulation of ZimAsset II.

“At the moment, there are the ZimAsset II discussions at provincial level, so I am asking you to engage in those discussions and tell your MPs what your particular challenges as entrepreneurs are. I think you are particularly well-placed to argue your case because people can see that you are negotiating from a position of strength,” Van Montfort said.

His calls come at a time youths have been blamed for maintaining an indifferent attitude towards policymaking discussions.

Van Montfort also counselled the youths in agriculture on the great opportunities ahead, as Africa, due to the ongoing global climate change, is predicted to be soon the primary producer of food crops.

He added that at a time when the country’s unemployment levels were swelling, youths had to embrace business innovation in order to survive.

ZFU executive director Paul Zakariya said it was important to heed youthful ideas, especially in agriculture as this was a huge step in helping their small business start-ups to formalise in future.

“That is what we have been working on as ZFU. We have been working with several partners on innovation labs to come up with ways that can help develop what we see as informal today to be formal tomorrow,” Zakariya said.