REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF YOUTH INDEGINISATION AND ECNOMIC EMPOWERMENT
HONOURABLE PATRICK ZHUWAO
AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 24TH SESSION OF THE JUNIOR PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE IN SUPPORT OF THE COMMEMORATION ON THE DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD
18 JUNE 2016: CITY SPORTS CENTRE
- Your Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe
- The Child President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
- The Honourable Speaker of the Junior Parliament,
- The Honourable Vice President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa
- The Honourable Vice President, Cde Phelekezela Mphoko
- The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honourable Jacob Mudenda
- The President of the Senate Cde Edna. Madzongwe
- Cabinet Ministers here present
- The Deputy Minister of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Honourable M. Tongofa
- The Permanent Secretary of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Mr. G Magosvongwe and other Permanent Secretaries here present
- Members of the Zimbabwe Youth Council
- Members of the Diplomatic Corps
- Representatives of the United Nations Departments here present,
- Honourable Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees here present,
- Invited Guests
- Ladies and gentleman
- Comrades and friends.
Your Excellency, I would like to start by taking this opportunity to thank you for your commitment to the welfare of the children and youth of Zimbabwe through policies and programmes aimed at addressing the various needs of the younger generation of this country.
Indeed, this 24th Session of the Junior Parliament exemplifies your commitment and the programmes you have had put in place.
Your Excellency, this 24th Session of the Junior Parliament is being held here at City Sports Centre, at a venue that allows the participation of as many youth to participate and witness their representation at the highest level. It is as you recommended during the last Session of the Junior Parliament.
Your Excellency, the venue has been designed in a circular layout that speaks to the new Parliament that we will soon have. This layout represents our African architecture and indeed the Great Zimbabwe enclosure. It is a circular theme that connects us with the rich history and traditions of our country.
Your Excellency, may it also be noted that this same venue hosted your meeting with our war veterans on 7 April 2016. It is fittingly so that our youth are also here with you today, because it speaks to taking Zimbabwe’s agenda forward, from a generation that fought so gallantly for our country’s political independence in 1980 to a new generation that must deliver economic independence.
I want to recognise the role played by the war veterans who were once our youth in the liberation struggle, as young as these young people we have today. Key to note is the presence of the two Vice Presidents who are still serving us in Government and driving the socio-economic empowerment process of the Nation.
This new generation of young people, represented here today, must now fight in Zimbabwe’s economic revolution, and Your Excellency I can confidently attest that they are ready for this new economic challenge at hand, for they have consistently proved themselves to be an innovative, entrepreneurial and resilient youth demographic.
This 24th Session of the Junior Parliament is being held under the theme, “Investing in Children and Youth for An Empowered Society and a Growing Economy in order to Prevent Conflict and Crisis and Protect all Children’s Rights”. It is a theme that speaks both to the African Union’s Day of the African Child theme for 2016 and also to Zimbabwe’s own vision as enunciated by Your Excellency in ZimASSET.
It is more so a theme that speaks to the capacity of Zimbabwe’s youth to be the fabric that constitutes “An Empowered Society and A Growing Economy”. Your Excellency, it is thanks to yours and your Government’s policies in education that Zimbabwe boasts an innovative, entrepreneurial and resilient youth demographic.
Our theme for this year is the youth of Zimbabwe calling upon their Government to invest in the demographic dividend which they are. Your Excellency, Zimbabwe is well positioned to lead in implementing the African Union’s theme for 2017, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investing in Youth”.
My Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, being appointed by you to administer the affairs of the youth, including their economic empowerment, has already taken that first step towards investing in and unlocking Zimbabwe’s youth dividend.
My Ministry appointed a Steering Committee on 8 April 2016, which was comprised of youth drawn from every Province across the country. This Steering Committee had the mandate to do the technical work for this incoming Junior Parliament, of drafting the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment.
The Steering Committee developed a ZERO Draft within the two week time frame that I had given them and presented it to me on 22 April 2016. The Zero Draft provided a framework within which young people could contribute towards the content of the ZimYESforInvestment strategy framework.
Consultative sessions where held with people and stakeholders during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. Meetings also followed with students and other young people in Masvingo Bulawayo, Mutare and Harare.
Consultations on the Zero draft were held with the United Nations agencies in Zimbabwe, civil society organisation and with youth associations affiliated to and recognised by the Zimbabwe Youth Council, including the youth formations of political parties across the political divide.
This Zero Draft was also shared in Banjul, Gambia at the Tenth Anniversary of the African Youth Charter where it was recognised as an innovative initiative for programming aimed at harnessing the youth in order to reap their demographic dividend.
Your Excellency I am pleased to advise that the Steering Committee has concluded incorporating the various views gathered into a Final Draft of the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment, which has been presented by the outgoing Junior President, who was a member of that Steering Committee, to the incoming Junior President. This Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment has now been deliberated by this 24th Session of the Junior Parliament.
The Final Draft of the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment must now be submitted to the normal process of policy interrogation and adopted by Government.
With the ZimYESforInvestment document now completed and once it has been adopted by Government, this incoming Junior Parliament must look forward as it focuses on ensuring Government invests in Zimbabwe’s youth demographic dividend.
Your Excellency, we look forward to a process of implementing the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment. Yet we are alive to the challenge of implementing our plans without adequate and enabling financial and resourcing mechanisms. To address such challenge we have developed four immediate interventions structured upon the four pillars of ZimASSET. These interventions are Youth Feed Zimbabwe, Youth Build Zimbabwe, Youth Industrialise Zimbabwe and Youth Employ Zimbabwe.
These interventions will be operated as commercial entities, encouraging young people to come together and form companies that contribute towards realisation of the four clusters of ZimASSET.
Your Excellency members of the Steering Committee included youth who were the top three winners of the Africa Total Start Upper Challenge. They are here with us today, Mkululi Ncube, Mercy Manyuchi and Tawanda Chikosi. We also have with us a former Junior Parliamentarian, Nyasha Sithole, who is now the Vice Chairperson of the African Youth Union, which organised the Tenth Anniversary of the African Youth Charter recently held in Bangul Gambia.
Indeed we must recognise that Zimbabwe’s youth have tremendous capacity that competes and overcomes Africa, and indeed the world.
This realisation justifies the need for the Zimbabwe Champions and Heroes of the Economic Empowerment Revolution, as has already been alluded to by the Junior President. Our Youth must be given the space and platform to fight for and achieve Zimbabwe’s economic independence and prosperity.
Already, we are beginning to witness these Champions and Heroes such as we did recently at the Manicaland Youth Business Expo where youth had a platform to showcase their innovations. It is our intention to have similar Youth Business Expos in every Province.
Your Excellency, the Million Man March recently held by the ZANU PF Youth League is indication of the ability of our youth to mobilise and organise themselves for the national cause, which today is an economic revolution. Most importantly it is indication that the youth are firmly behind you Your Excellency and are looking to Government to invest in their innovativeness, entrepreneurship and resilience, towards achieving “An Empowered Society and A Growing Economy”.
Without further ado, I would like to introduce His Excellency, the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.