Monday, May 27, 2024

Khama’s message on youth unemployment spot on, but needs to be backed by action

“Our nation faces no greater task than that of empowering our youth to achieve their aspirations for a productive and meaningful life. Census findings reveal that some 39% of Batswana are aged between 15 and 35. Yet, notwithstanding the fact that this age cohort is better educated than any generation before them, or that many of them also possess additional life skills and talents, such as relatively high levels of ICT literacy, as a group they are struggling. Having come of age in an especially challenging time, our youth deserve our special attention. The nation’s present opportunities as well as future prospects are at stake. With their energy and innovative capacity our youth are a solid asset, who need to be enabled if we are to be a more prosperous and productive nation.” ÔÇô President Ian Khama.

We draw solace from the fact that at long last the Botswana Government, through no less a person than the Head of State, has publicly acknowledged the potential pitfalls that lie ahead if no concerted and more coordinated efforts are put in place to address the challenges facing the youth.
While the youth are the country’s greatest asset it is also true to say that left in their current state, they are a time bomb waiting to explode.

Every year the education system churns out large numbers of young people who for one reason or another are unable to play any meaningful role in the economy of their country.

As a result we have a groundswell of young people who not only feel abandoned but also feel they owe nothing to their own society. They feel their society has turned its back against them, at a time when they are most vulnerable and most at need.

That in itself is very dangerous not least because the hopelessness that is so widespread among the youth can in the long-term be a great source of instability, anarchy and even a national security threat.

We have our own opinions on just how as a nation we reached into the terrible state of affairs into which we find ourselves today.

It is however our opinion that on this occasion we should as a nation stand and pull together with the single objective of saving the nation from the disaster that awaits all of us if nothing is done to avert the impending catastrophe.

The Government of Botswana has over the years come up with programmes to empower youth. Some of those programmes have really helped not only to empower the youth but in some instances to literally uplift good numbers of the youth from not just poverty but also the miserable lot that was their lives.

Unfortunately some such programmes have not always been very helpful even as they cost government an arm and a leg.

To quote President Khama, if not for nothing but our small contribution at galvanizing the entire nation to play a role we can only say “our youth deserve our special support. The nation’s present opportunities as well as future prospects are at stake.”

We call on the nation to pay a special attention to the message by President Khama on the youth.
This is the message that as a newspaper we have been drumming for years.

We now have the honour that at least on this one very critical issue we share the same view with the Botswana Government.

Going forward it is our hope that the President’s words will be accompanied by tangible actions to help avert what is clearly a time bomb that is ticking really fast.

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