Youths’ involvment in SADC programmes can improve development and empowerment – official
Southern African Development Community (SADC), Director of Social and Human Development, Duduzile Simelane, said participation by the region’s youth in different SADC programmes can accelarate development and empowerment.
Simelane said this during the opening session for the 2018 edition of the SADC Youth Forum that kicked off this week in Windhoek
Simelane said the meeting provides a platform for young women and men in the SADC region to define how the theme ‘Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’, will be operationalised for the period during Namibia’s Chair-ship up to August 2019.
“We also express our appreciation to the National Youth Councils and National Youth Development Agencies for positively responding to the invitation and for ensuring gender balance in the nomination of delegates, which is critical for sustainable development,” she added.
She explained that SADC particularly pursues policies and programmes to ensure the availability of educated, skilled, healthy, productive human resources required for promoting investment, efficiency and competitiveness of the region in the global economy, with the overall goal of improving the quality of lives of the region’s population.
Simelane said they must remain open minded and objectively address the gaps between the current policy intentions and reality on the ground.
“It is clear that poverty continues to be widespread in our region, with the youth being more disproportionately affected or disadvantaged, whether we are talking about access to economic opportunities, including employment or ownership of assets or resources such as land or even with regard to their genuine participation in leadership and political processes,” she said.
Statistics show that SADC is a very young region, with about three quarters of the population being under the age of 35 years, while those between 15 and 35 years are in the region of 35%, therefore the sustainability of SADC programmes should be anchored on the young people, if inclusive and sustainable development is to be realised.
The Declaration on Youth Development and Empowerment in SADC signed by Head of State and Government in August 2015 is a pertinent call to action in this regard.