Letters:Unemployment leads to high youth emigration

File pic: Unemployed graduates

YOUTH unemployment in Zimbabwe remains high and many youths have resorted to the informal sector to sustain their lives.

The informal sector makes up the larger part of Zimbabwe’s economy.

It remains unregulated and this offers little to no protection by the law to workers in this sector.

The true figures pertaining to Zimbabwe’s informal sector remain largely unknown due to the failure to capture the size of informal trade which is sustaining most families in Zimbabwe.

In a 2020 report, the International Labour Organisation revealed that 580 000 youths fled Zimbabwe for greener pastures.

The Labour Market Diagnostic Analysis Report indicated that the majority of emigrants mentioned lack of employment opportunities as the number one motive for leaving the country.

Most emigrants worked in the agricultural sector before their departure.

South Africa was the leading destination chosen by emigrants, followed by Botswana.

Unfortunately, due to their irregular status, most Zimbabwean emigrants occupy low-income jobs characterised by the absence of employment contracts and social protection.

The findings indicated that improving living standards and promoting economic and social development in Zimbabwe requires increasing employment opportunities.

Zimbabwe is plagued by a lack of economic opportunities emanating from a failure to adhere to the rule of law and the non-creation of a secure environment for domestic and foreign investment.

Development requires an engaged citizenry that drives social, political, and economic reforms through participation.

The inclusion of women in political, economic and social activities is instrumental for development and achieving gender equality, therefore, it is important to fast-track gender mainstreaming through youth and women affirmative action into positions of influence by advancing political representation.

The report observes that women and young workers are four times more likely to be inactive than men and adult workers, respectively.

Youths who enter the labour market may also face additional barriers to finding a job, partly due to a lack of work experience, difficulty in signalling their skills to employers, fewer opportunities to access capital, and lower levels of social capital.

Among the recommendations proffered were the development of formalisation strategies and policies in consultation with those that are affected to ensure policies deliver the intended result of creating an enabling business environment.-Zimcodd

Invest in subsistence farming for optimum transformation of livelihoods

ZIMBABWE’S economic performance largely depends on developments in its agricultural sector.

Zimbabwe has 4 130 000 hectares of arable land, with 25% being cultivated using manual draught power and animals.

In the first two decades after independence, Zimbabwe’s agriculture performance was optimal as it was at the apex of regional and continental food production.

Zimbabwe’s massive agriculture production made her attain the breadbasket status of Africa and the regional food security cluster position.

However, following the chaotic fast-track land reform programme of 2000, agriculture production deteriorated as irrigation infrastructure was damaged due to the hostile takeover.

The majority of the new landowners depended on rain water rather than irrigation for their crops.

As the weather patterns change and droughts become more frequent, the country has failed to produce enough grain to meet domestic demand, culminating in food scarcity and donor dependence.

Zimbabwe is largely dependent on food donations, particularly from the international support it receives from the World Food Programme (WFP).

In 2021, WFP supported 2,2 million beneficiaries with 55% being women and 45% being men.

A total of 86 462 metric tonnes were distributed, with US$44,5 million used in cash transfers.

However, as of December 2022, over 3,7 million Zimbabweans had registered for government’s social food assistance programme, a 54% increase from December 2021.

Government intends to assist 3,2 million people, while the rest will be assisted by development partners.

The scale and magnitude of the assistance point to food insecurity and government’s failure to provide sufficient food despite claims of a bumper harvest.

The preceding submission shows national food insecurity which undermines the livelihoods of the masses.

It is against this backdrop that transparently investing in subsistence farming might be an effective alternative to ensure national food security and transformational livelihoods.

Currently, 61% of the Zimbabwean population, which translates to 9,2 million people, survives on subsistence farming, the majority of which struggles to buy inputs or find a market for their produce.

This is because the value chain and supply chains are dominated by big corporates and politically exposed persons who exploit smallholder farmers.

Therefore, investing in subsistence farming goes beyond supplying agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers, but ensuring that their interests are also preserved in the supply and value chains.

This is the only way investing in subsistence farming will culminate in livelihood transformation and also guarantee trade justice.-Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development

Electoral system seems to serve corporate lobbyists well

IN response to Electoral reforms good for democracy: I don’t know which electoral system Zimbabwe utilises, but the United States and Canada are basically relegated to a first past the post (FPTP) electoral system.

While FPTP may qualify [and barely at that] as democratic rule within the democracy spectrum, it is the proportional representation electoral system, thus governance, that’s truly democratic.

Yes, legislation and governance can get stalled, thus take longer, but it’s worth it for those of us who insist that our vote truly counts.

FPTP does seem to serve corporate lobbyists well, however, I believe this is why such powerful interests generally resist attempts at changing from FPTP to a proportional representation electoral system of governance — the latter dilutes corporate influence.

Low-representation FPTP-elected governments, in which a relatively small portion of the country’s populace is actually electorally represented, are likely the easiest for lobbyists to manipulate or “buy”.

It’s helping the biggest of businesses get unaccountably even bigger, defying the very spirit of government rules established to ensure healthy competition by limiting conglomeration.

As it is, corporate lobbyists actually write bills for our (Canada’s) governing representatives to vote for and have implemented, supposedly to save the elected officials their own time.

I believe the practice has become so systematic here that those who are aware of it (that likely includes mainstream news-media political writers) don’t bother publicly discussing it. 

Regardless, powerful business interests can, and sometimes do, debilitate our high-level elected officials through implicit or explicit threats to transfer or eliminate jobs and capital investment, thus economic stability, if corporate “requests” aren’t accommodated.

It’s a political crippling that’s worsened by a blaring news media that is permitted to be naturally critical of incumbent governments, especially in regards to job and capital transfers and economic weakening. 

It’s the immoral/amoral nature of the big business beast. Western business mentality and, by extension, collective society allow the well-being of human beings to be decided by corporate profit-margin measures.

And our governments mostly dare not intervene, perhaps because they fear being labelled anti-business by our avidly capitalist culture.-Frank Sterle Jr


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