About 17 000 jobs for the youth are expected to be created in Malawi in the next four years courtesy of an African Development Bank (AfDB) project dubbed Jobs for Youth.
The project will be implemented with a grant and loan worth $12.24 million (about K9 billion), according to AfDB resident representative in Malawi Andrew Mwaba.
The project comes hot on the heels of high joblessness among the youth with the 2014 Malawi Labour Force
Survey (MLFS) prepared by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showing that unemployment rate is at 21 percent.
The AfDB money also comes against the backdrop
of concerns on the usage of a loan from Indian Export and Import (Exim) Bank for the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (Medef) in which the equipment bought for distribution to beneficiaries is just lying idle at a warehouse in Lilongwe.
In a statement, Mwaba said the AfDB project seeks to economically empower young women and men for improved employability in decent work and sustainable entrepreneurship in the country.
He said: “The project has been designed to address some of the challenges faced by the youth and will also help to build the capacity of national partners including civil society organisations to effectively plan, implement, monitor and evaluate youth employment promotion interventions in the country.”
Mwaba said the project is a first of its kind to be supported by the AfDB under the new Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy adopted by the pan-African bank in May this year to tackle youth employment issues on the continent.
Reacting to the news yesterday, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa said the grant will target both informal and formal youths.
“We want to create employment through commercial farming through the national youth programmes. We are looking at activities such as value addition and processing crops into finished products, just to mention a few.
“There are a lot of activities going on under the Green Belt Initiative, which needs energetic youths to go into commercial farming,” he said.
The project will be implemented over a period of four years starting in 2017 and will build on the higher education science and technology project financed by the AfDB Group, which was designed to support universities and vocational technical training centres by helping to provide skills to enhance employability for graduates.
In contrast to neighbouring countries, unemployment rate in Zambia is at 13.3 percent, Tanzania at 10.3 percent whereas in Mozambique, it is at 17 percent. n