FRANCISTOWN: The acting minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Buti Billy says the African Youth Fund would aid in the fight against social ills, which are often caused by lack of unemployment.
Billy was addressing multitudes of youth who attended the Led2Lead youth empowerment conference that was held at the Civic Centre hall over the weekend. In his address, he said that AYF in collaboration with YENU supermarket in pursuit of inculcating youth entrepreneurship, the Fund would create numerous opportunities for employment through the store, business training and project funding.
Billy further said that upon training and funding, young entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to be part of a value chain that supplies fresh produce such as eggs, chicken, vegetables, and locally produced juices amongst others.
“I am informed that AYF seeks to build a National Youth Empowerment databank (NYED) to profile young people in entrepreneurship development. Once profiled in the databank it will create meaningful youth participation for present and future development activities,” he added.
The acting minister said that the world is changing at an unprecedented speed and if marginalised youth do not have access to livelihood opportunities they may be prone to crime and social ills. When elaborating more on the initiative, Billy said the funds exist to stimulate private sector growth in Botswana through economic diversification, entrepreneurship development and employment creation for young people.
He further said AYF also seeks to supplement government efforts in providing enterprise solutions for economic development through business training, project funding and incubation.
He said it is critical for the country to engage and put more funds in growing youth so that they start businesses that can create employment and sustain the economy of the country.
He noted that if more youth are unemployed and are constantly roaming the streets because they are active and their energy is not utilised properly they become
He therefore said that it is crucial for the youth to start businesses and know the ethics of running businesses in order to sustain their lives.
Billy emphasised that government cannot by itself alone create jobs without the help of the private sector.
The acting minister stated that the theme of the event, which is ‘Ikagele Bokamoso’ resonates well with MYSC mandate of creating an enabling environment for youth development.
He added that their commitment as government towards youth development is influenced by their democratic goals, which are based on the principles of social economic justice, empowerment participation and active citizenship.
“The government has recognised the problem of poor economic participation of young people and has put in place numerous interventions geared towards bringing the youth into the mainstream of the economy,” he said.
According to Billy, they believe that enhancing economic participation as the Led2Lead youth empowerment project has been premised, it shall provide the building blocks through skills transfer and start-up funding for young people to build their future.
For his part the Led2Lead director, Nkwato Chintu described AYF as a youth empowerment programme, which trains, coaches and monitors young people for them to be competent entrepreneurs.
He said the initiative is going to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment in the country.
He said AYF registered in 2017 and managed to train a large number of young people in the country.
“Our mandate is to profile 10,000 youth countrywide and build an empowerment databank for monitoring and evaluation,” Chintu stated.
He added that they intend to create 400 cohorts across the country that will each have a business leader who will help in the smooth transaction of doing business.