The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, announced that government has increased the Youth Development Fund from P60 million to P120 million to cater for job creation and funding of youth projects.
Speaking at a Youth Pitso held last week, Kgathi said the decision to increase the fund came after thorough consultation with the youth and other stakeholders. He said following the Revised Youth Policy the government has taken a decision to fund youths from 15 years to 35 years as compared to the original 12 years to 29 years.
He said his ministry is implementing a number of programs geared towards youth economic empowerment through the Youth Development Fund and Youth industries.
Kgathi said the Youth Pitso came at the right time when the government of Botswana is advocating for an economic diversification drive to inculcate an entrepreneurial culture amongst Batswana and the youth in order to create sustainable economic growth and employment opportunities.
Kgathi underscored the importance of youth taking ownership of the solutions to the challenges facing them.
“The youth must believe in themselves and be convinced that they have the capacity to build a better future,” he said. Kgathi said government’s efforts to develop the youth in Botswana should be seen as crucial in partnering with other key stakeholders. Kgathi called upon all key stakeholders to rally behind efforts of this nature and be committed to improve the lives of the young people in Botswana.
Addressing the issue of youth funded projects concentrated in urban and semi-urban areas as compared to rural areas, Kgathi said youth should grab this opportunity and set up business operations in rural areas.
“This will go a long way in assisting the Government of Botswana to promote rural development and effectively reduce rural-urban migration in the quest for employment opportunities,” he said.
In addition, he said his ministry is continuously taking deliberate action to provide recreational facilities in order to curb idleness in young people, which concomitantly exacerbate social ills affecting the young people in our society.
He called upon all the young people to lead responsible lives that will not put them into the danger of contracting HIV infection.
“Please utilize the available amenities in your area to inform yourselves on adolescence sexual reproductive health issues, behavioral change is necessary and key to HIV prevention,” he said.