Malawi youth unemployment levels continue to rise, heightening concerns that the country will not meet most of the intended development goals.
This is the observation made at the recent 14th Civil Society Forum (CSF) in Namibia.
A recent Malawi Labour Force Survey produced by the National Statistical Office (NSO) shows that unemployment rate among all economically active population in Malawi based on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) broad definition is at 21 percent.
Among the youths aged between 15 and 34, unemployment rate is at 23 percent, using the same broad definition of ILO.
During the CSF, the Malawi Chapter of the Southern African Alliance on Youth Employment (Saaye) joined Sadc civil society organisations in demanding youth emancipation across the region.
The CSF communique laid down three areas key to open equal suffrage for the youth in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region.
Reads the communique: “As the Saaye Malawi Chapter, we are happy that the CSF communique for the first time has embraced our demands.
“We are even more delighted that our national leaders have taken it upon themselves to consider these important areas of youth employment.”
Under the theme Youth Employment and Empowerment, Saaye resolved that there should be stronger advocacy for the adoption and implementation of the Sadc Youth Employment Promotion Policy Framework in accordance with the provisions of the African Union Youth Charter and with the provisions on employment in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), intended at improving youth participation in decision making processes and in the Sadc development agenda.
Unemployment is a critical subject in the country and it has become more pronounced as the country is heading towards the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also leader of United Transformation Movement (UTM)—a political grouping—has brought to the fore the debate on job creation with a promise to create one million jobs should he win the presidency next year.
The ‘one million jobs’ pledge has stirred debate and skepticism with critics, including President Peter Mutharika, dismissing the target as unrealistic.
But at a UTM rally he addressed at Ntcheu Secondary School ground on Sunday, Chilima announced the K40 billion fund—to be sourced locally through pension funds and other sources—to empower small and medium enterprises and create jobs.
“There is evidence that it is possible to create one million jobs. Job creation can be done in many ways. There is informal and formal sectors of employment.
“The K40 billion fund will benefit women, youths, the elderly and people with disabilities who will be given K200 000 each as start-up. If we disburse the K200 000s to 200 000 people who will employ at least one person each, we will have 400 000 jobs,” he said.
ILO says unemployment is a global issue and the crisis around jobs is particularly acute this time because more than 500 million people worldwide are officially unemployed not because the quality of available jobs are declining, especially middle-grade white collar jobs, but because the jobs are not there.—Mana/The Nation.