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Solutions for tackling youth unemployment challenges

Youth unemployment is likened to an economic catastrophe, which threatens stability.

Youth unemployment is the unemployment of young people, aged between 18–35 years old. It should be acknowledged that while the issue of youth employment is dictated by the mismatch between education and the requirements of the job market, job creation holds the key to solving this problem.

Various economic agents urged to become more proactive and innovative in offering homegrown solutions for policymakers to address the issues.

Youth unemployment is likened to an economic catastrophe, which threatens stability.

Unemployment cannot be resolved overnight since it needs the collective efforts of all stakeholders and the improved competitiveness of SMEs to leverage employment.

Youth unemployment is a pressing issue that affects millions of young people worldwide. It is a complex problem, influenced by a variety of factors such as economic conditions, limited job opportunities, and lack of skills and experience.

To effectively address this challenge, it is essential to implement innovative solutions that not only focus on job creation but also provide support and opportunities for skills development and entrepreneurship.

One potential solution is to promote the role of social entrepreneurship in tackling youth unemployment.

Social entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool in addressing youth unemployment as it combines economic goals with social impact.

By supporting and nurturing social entrepreneurs, we can create an environment where young people are empowered to start their businesses and contribute to the economy while addressing social issues.

Additionally, supportive policies and programs should be put in place to attract young people to the private sector and encourage them to start their businesses.

This approach would not only help create job opportunities but also foster innovation and economic growth.

 It is posited that economic growth cannot eradicate poverty on a sustainable basis unless such growth is tied to job creation.

Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency develops statistical databases, disaggregated by gender and other dimensions of the youth population, to present credible evidence-based research for promoting socially inclusive solutions.

In recognition of the critical role, the statistical agency should collaborate with stakeholders in the dissemination of information on trends in youth unemployment.

Many factors are responsible for the difficulties that youth experience in initial workforce entry. These include:

A lack of information, networks, and connections among youth, especially youth from families lacking significant social capital. Many young people lack knowledge of what the world of work is like and have not given careful thought to their own potential career choices. They have not used their time in school to prepare appropriately for realistic career paths. They lack informal networks and connections that are traditionally the major source of information about job opportunities. They  do not know how to navigate the labor market to identify and pursue available jobs or to find and use the most relevant training resources.

A lack of skills relevant to the workplace. Even those young people who have pursued a course of study with a specific career in mind often find themselves with general or theoretical knowledge that does little to prepare them for the actual tasks they will encounter on the job. This is partly the fault of school curricula and poor connections between employers and the educational system. Young people also lack specific “21st-century workplace skills” such as cooperation, communication, critical thinking, creativity, and a focus on the needs of the enterprise.

A lack of experience and credentials that address employers’ risk in making hiring commitments. Many employers are skeptical about young people’s ability to apply the skills they learn in schools to the practical challenges of the workplace. They also question the social skills and work ethic of youth. They see these deficits as a significant barrier to the productivity of inexperienced young people, and at the same time, they are reluctant to invest resources in training young people when more experienced adult workers may be unemployed and available for hire.

There is general agreement that political action is needed for a development agenda catapulted by private sector-led growth.

Policymakers were urged to a) raise confidence and create an enabling environment to attract private sector investment; and b) discourage corruption and nepotism in all sectors.

In the promotion of private sector-led growth, Zimbabwe can shift from producing people for white-collar jobs to encouraging them to undertake technical and vocational education and training.

Toward this end, there is a need for the facilitation of easy access to investment capital, particularly for SMEs, and advocated an agricultural transformation, based on large-scale farming for export, and agro-processing for value addition.

Together with unleashing potentials from the energy sector, there is also a need for a political will that facilitates the diversification of economies and increases intra-African trade.

Attention should continue to be paid to building critical skills required by the private sector, through mentorship programs that assist the youth in setting up small businesses.

Arguing against old practices of foreign investors who use Zimbabwean labour without adequate transfers of skills and know-how, governments also be proactive investors in industrialization and ensure that policies on foreign direct investments provide value-addition to nationals, as well as create youth employment opportunities.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to visualize the future, look for access to markets, and promote female-led youth businesses.

From this perspective, the quality of the capital becomes key for buying and procuring business services.

Hence, there is a need for businesses to build for scale and export, which requires a shift from simply creating manufacturing models to delivering the product.

Skills development focused on the future is a powerful tool to help young people become more competitive in the job market, become adaptable to labor market changes, and even become creators of future jobs.

By proactively investing in this development, we can reduce youth unemployment and empower young people to play a pivotal role in driving economic growth.

Internship and apprenticeship programs: Offering internship and apprenticeship programs can help young people gain valuable work experience and improve their chances of finding employment.

Public works programs: Implementing public works programs that focus on infrastructure development and community projects can create temporary job opportunities for young people.

Strengthening the private sector: Creating a favorable business environment, reducing red tape, and providing incentives for businesses to expand and create new jobs can also help reduce youth unemployment.

By adopting a combination of these approaches, Zimbabwe can work towards reducing youth unemployment rates and providing more opportunities for its young population.


Africa should promptly discontinue playing the basic role of the consumer of global research output and should rigorously shift to innovatively generating research to meet her own needs.

Governments should not stifle the private sector, which has the comparative advantage of empowering the youth to be productive agents of development.

There is a need to close the weak linkages between universities and industry and to develop the best models that make the public and private sectors see themselves as complementing each other’s efforts, rather than competing between themselves.

Build human resource skills, through the development of incentives to incite young people to engage in industrial research and development.

There should be competent skills-based training in all disciplines for the youth to perfect the work in which they are engaged.

  • Zvendiya is an independent policy analyst. These weekly New Perspectives articles, published in the Zimbabwe Independent, are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge, an independent consultant, managing consultant of Zawale Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, past president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society and past president of the Chartered Governance & Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe. — kadenge.zes@gmail.com or +263 772 382 852.

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