A GROUP OF non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have come together to organise a jobs summit aimed at equipping youths with entrepreneurial skills so that they can start their businesses.
This was revealed by Greenfield Resources development consultant, Kudakwashe Chidhakwa and Shekinah Business Solutions manager, Ithumeleng Senekane in a recent interview with Sunday Express.
Greenfield Resources is a development consultancy and it helped found the Polihali Forum, a voluntary non-profit association which aims to create an enabling environment for local companies to participate in national projects including the multi-billion dollar Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
Shekinah Business Solutions is a local business solutions company that offers project management and research among other services.
Mr Chidhakwa said the summit will serve as a platform for national dialogue and exchange among government, civil society, academics, the private sector, development partners and the public on how to address the challenge of high unemployment levels in the country.
“We have an unemployment rate of 27.25 percent according to World Bank 2017 statistics,” Mr Chidhakwa said, adding, “The Summit was motivated by the observation that the present economic growth rates are not making a significant impact on job creation”.
“The economic marginalisation of certain population groups particularly the youth is a major challenge that we face as a nation. The summit will identify gaps and barriers hindering access to employment opportunities particularly for vulnerable groups like the disabled, rural based populations and young women.
“The summit will be open to the public and they will have direct access to human resources managers from leading companies in manufacturing, agriculture and services. We will highlight the changing trends and employment prospects in the formal job market. We will also discuss the opportunities in the informal sector as a viable alternative solution to our current employment challenges.
He said they expect key ministries like Small Businesses; Trade and Agriculture to play key roles during and after the summit.
“The summit will enable the public to demand that government ensures that the marginalised population groups participate in major projects like the Polihali Dam which is set to be constructed next year as part of the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
“The summit will mark an innovative turning point in how all critical stakeholders engage to achieve tangible results as we approach the Vision 2020 milestone which states that by 2020 we must reduce youth unemployment,” Mr Chidhakwa said.
For her part, Miss Senekane said that young people need to be better informed about entrepreneurial opportunities so that they can start their own businesses and thus reduce unemployment.
She said there was need for all stakeholders to engage in dialogue to improve the living conditions of Basotho.
The summit is expected to become an annual event.