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Nhema to address youths symposium

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MORE than 100 youths are set engage Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Francis Nhema on the prospects of how the government’s economic blueprint ZimAsset can lift them from poverty.

CHIEF REPORTER

The two-day symposium to be held in Bulawayo under the theme “Assessing the ZimAsset as a panacea to socioeconomic challenges faced by youths” is aimed at enhancing youth participation in national development.

The event is being organised by the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT). Its director Liberty Bhebhe said the dialogue would offer youths an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the economic blueprint.

“Nhema will have an audience with the youths and is also expected to lead a broader discussion on the ministry’s key priorities for 2014,” he said.

“About 100 youths from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Gweru, Masvingo and Harare are expected to attend.

“The delegates are drawn from academia, the media, political parties, government departments and the NYDT membership.”

Bhebhe said the objectives are to enhance youth participation in national development and accompanying discourse around ZimAsset, critically analyse ZimAsset from a youth perspective and assess whether it is a panacea to socioeconomic challenges being faced by the youths.

“A post-symposium document containing research papers from the speakers and comments from the NYDT research department will be published,” he said.

“The document will then be shared with stakeholders such as legislators, political parties, civil society organisations and local government authorities and is expected to inform local government policy towards the provisions of social services to young people, and the implementation of poverty alleviation strategies that directly affect young people in Zimbabwe.”

ZimAsset is a five-year (2013 to 2018) economic blueprint extracted from the Zanu PF election manifesto that focuses on four pillars — food security and nutrition, social services and poverty reduction, infrastructure and utilities and value addition and beneficiation.

It has a two-pronged approach, the quick fix (2013 to 2015) and the long-term strategy dealing with the woes confronting the economy.

The government requires at least $27 billion to fund projects under ZimAsset, but it has been struggling to attract the required funding largely due to policy inconsistences in the country.

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