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Zambia Unveils Groundbreaking Youth Empowerment Program

During a Strategic Private Sector Partnership Breakfast Meeting held on 31st January, 2024, Honourable Elvis C. Nkandu, the Minister of Youth, Sport, and Arts in Zambia, made a significant announcement regarding the launch of Phase One of the GRZ-UN Joint Programme on Youth. 

The meeting, attended by key figures including Ms. Beatrice Mutali of the United Nations and representatives from various embassies, private sector entities, and UN agencies, showcased Zambia’s commitment to addressing the challenges faced by its large youth population. 

Minister Nkandu shed light on the three flagship initiatives under the Phase One program. Firstly, the Internship, Volunteer, Apprenticeship, and Graduate (IVAG) Programme, aimed at enhancing youth employability by providing them with relevant skills. 

The successful start of the IVAG Programme in 2023, which placed over 1,500 youths in government institutions across all provinces, was highlighted. 

The Minister appealed for increased support from partners to further expand the program and tackle the pressing issue of youth unemployment. 

In this digital era, the Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Arts plans to leverage technology to disseminate information about youth programs. 

A collaboration with the Smart Zambia Institute and the UN Country Team has resulted in the donation of ICT equipment, with plans to launch a comprehensive Youth Digital Platform. 

This platform will serve as a one-stop-shop, offering vital information, resources, and opportunities to enhance youth employment and empowerment. 

The initiative aligns with the global trend where access to technology plays a pivotal role in accelerating youth employment. 

The government’s commitment to skills development is evident through the National Skills Development Programme. Minister Nkandu invited partners to take on youth graduates as apprentices, emphasizing the importance of aligning training with the demands of the labor market.

Simultaneously, efforts are underway to rehabilitate and equip youth resource centers across the country. 

This initiative aims to increase youth enrollment and address the skills mismatch prevalent in the job market, ensuring that youth graduates are equipped with up-to-date skills. 

Acknowledging the critical role of youth in national development, Minister Nkandu highlighted the government’s new approach of engaging young people in decision-making processes. 

The launch of the first-ever State of the Youth Report and the upcoming Youth Policy are indicative of this commitment. 

The Minister expressed optimism that the breakfast meeting would strengthen relations and collaboration with key stakeholders, paving the way for concrete actions in support of youth employment and empowerment. 

In conclusion, Minister Nkandu expressed gratitude to partners for their unwavering support and emphasized that the meeting was not the last engagement. 

The Ministry seeks to continue interactions throughout the year and beyond, renewing and strengthening commitments to implementing the GRZ-UN Joint Programme on Youth. 

The breakfast meeting served as a platform to mobilize financial and in-kind support for crucial initiatives, demonstrating the government’s determination to collaborate with partners in realizing Zambia’s vision for youth development and empowerment.

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