For the youth to sustain their businesses, it requires concerted efforts to break down all barriers that hinder their effective participation in their socio-economic development.
The observation was made by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSC) permanent secretary Kago Ramokate, who said that the engagement and participation of the youth was essential to achieve sustainable human development. He said young people could be the drivers of change.
Speaking at Youth Business Expo recently, Ramokate said the youth were part of a solution to addressing the country’s issues such as food security, manufacturing to reduce on the importation of goods and diversification strategies as they are in possession of the right skills and competencies. “This year marks the third Youth Business Expo that our Ministry, in partnership with our sponsors, hold to accord youth in business an opportunity to showcase their products and services, networking platform and an opportunity to create market for the products. I am exhilarated by the response we receive from our youth across the country of yearning to be a part of the event.
“This signals to us that we are relevant and current to youth aspirations and desires as a Ministry, hence our reaching the 300 target of exhibitors just like in the past year. Indeed the Expo is growing bigger and better as shown by the diversity of exhibits displayed by our young people,” he said. Ramokate further called on the youth to utilise their interactions for the duration of the expo to uplift the lives of other youth. To those aspiring to set up businesses, he advised them to make use of all the interaction platforms availed to better build
For his part, MYSC minister ,Thapelo Olopeng said the future of the nation was dependent upon the development and empowerment of their youth. He explained that the country’s youth was technologically advanced with resourceful knowledge, which needed to be harnessed to realise the demographic dividends.
“As the Government and the Private sector, there is need to join forces to nurture, provide business support and counselling, mentor and be the spokespersons of our youth entrepreneurs to ensure an enabling environment is created for them to actively participate in the socio economic development. A nation that does not invest in its youth is a lost nation, hence the reason I urge all of you present and the nation at larger to introspect and see our contribution towards driving the youth development agenda,” he said.
He added that the government alone, with the meagre resources at its disposal, could not achieve the realisation of a well-rounded youth who not only participate in national economic development, but also in the trading in the diaspora. He said the Youth Business Expo was one of the many programmes and initiatives by his ministry that connotes an important milestone in their mandate and exertion to drive the youth development agenda.
“I am elated in that the Youth Business Expo has brought in diversity in our youth in terms of their products, services and the fact that there are those funded by the available government streams and those that started on their own (self-funded),” he said.