THE youth unemployment rate has soared to above 70% contrary to government statements that only a minority were without jobs, a survey carried by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (Mpoi) has shown.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga
According to a survey conducted by Mpoi between October 2012 and January this year, 73% of youths aged between 18 and 30 are not formally employed, while the remaining 27% of the population were employed either part-time or full-time.
Mpoi is a non-governmental research organisation established in 1997 with the main objective of gauging public opinion with regards to topical issues of
governance and public concern.
Finance minister Tendai Biti last month said the unemployment rate was 9% and not 85%.
According to Biti, at least 22% of the population was employed in the formal sector, while 57% worked in the agriculture and small-to -medium enterprises sectors.
However, Mpoi researcher Richman Kokera said the majority of the youths were not employed and most were in Mashonaland West, Matabeleland North and South, while the highest employment was in Masvingo, Mashonaland East and Central.
“When asked how they rated their own living conditions versus others by province, most youths in Matabeleland South, North and Mashonaland Central said they were the worst” Kokera said.
“From the survey conducted, the issue of employment was the major problem that cut across all provinces with the youths calling upon the inclusive government to address unemployment more than other problems affecting them,” he added.
Kokera added that most of the unemployed youths were extremely impoverished with some spending months without any cash inflows. The country’s poverty datum line for an average family of five persons per household stood at $541 in March.
The poverty line is the threshold below which families or individuals are considered to be lacking the resources to meet the basic needs for healthy living; in other words, having insufficient income to provide food, shelter and clothing needed to preserve health.
However, the majority of Zimbabweans are earning salaries far below the poverty datum line.