South Africa: Youth employability a key issue for agri sector

The agriculture sector – which employs just under 1 million people in South Africa according to StatsSA – is crying out for a solution to its youth employability challenge.

This was one of the key takeaways from the Youth Employment Service (YES) participation at the recent CGA Citrus Summit held in Port Elizabeth.

“Lack of viable and sustainable youth employability solutions was a clear issue for all stakeholders,” says Lara Grieve, YES business development manager.

Grieve added: “What was clear from the event was that the agriculture sector is looking for ways to bring a more collaborative approach to the unemployment challenge, bringing government and the commercial players in the agriculture sector together.”

Borne out of the CEO Initiative, YES has become one of the highest impact programs in SA, creating on average nearly 700 work opportunities each week in its first five months.

These opportunities provide unemployed black youth (18 – 35 years old), the chance to access the workforce, gain valuable skills and earn a basic wage. Furthermore, these YES youth are equipped with smartphone devices to learn valuable skills including work readiness, health and safety, financial wellness and more through the YES application. YES also enjoys a strategic partnership with LinkedIn. This means that YES youth can access one of the largest professional networks in the world, and build CVs and references that put them in front of potential future employers.

A further benefit of YES is that it offers attractive benefits to businesses looking to improve their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) scorecard rating. Qualifying businesses can improve their B-BBEE rating by either 1 or 2 levels by employing and absorbing YES youth, in line with the Practice Note issued in October 2018.

“Agriculture is an important sector for the South African economy,” says YES chief executive Tashmia Ismail-Saville, who points out that there is an over-concentration of youth looking for work opportunities in Gauteng, but finding themselves competing with highly-skilled people for entry-level jobs.

Ismail-Saville says that South Africa would benefit from a decentralized workforce where jobs are created in developing parts of the economy. “By creating employment in the agriculture sector, salaries and skills are retained in these regions, contributing to economic development. If we create 1,000 entry-level jobs in a region such as Limpopo or Nelspruit, we add R42m to the local economy.”

Source Farmers Review Africa

Advertisements

South Africa: Western Cape youth are hungry for change

By Muhammad Khalid Sayed

Time spent electioneering for the ANC in the Western Cape has been a journey into the hearts and minds of the youth who are hungry for an opportunity to walk tall in the new South Africa.

Over the past few months, I have been privileged to be part of the leadership of the ANC Youth League that has been electioneering for the ANC in the Western Cape.

It has been a journey that took us into dwellings that were in informal settlements, townships, rural areas and even middle-class suburbs.

Many of these dwellings were not what one would traditionally call a home. But to its occupants they were home, a place one could view as one’s own space, even if at times there was not a crumb of food, electricity or running water.

The journey through dwellings in the Western Cape to meet young people, view their circumstances, and talk with them about why it was important to register and vote for the ANC on May 8 has been a voyage of discovery.

It was a journey into the hearts and minds of the segment that makes up the biggest part of the South African population: the youth – my constituency, the young ones who one day will be viewed as the older generation.

I was struck by the hunger burning in their eyes. It was not a hunger that said “gimme gimme because I’m entitled to it”. It also was not a hunger that was screaming loudly “we want handouts because the country owes us”.

No, it was a hunger for integrity, self-respect, education and the chance to walk tall in this new South Africa. The youth with whom I had had soul-searching discussions were not part of those who go about bringing educational institutions to a standstill by destroying buildings or blocking access to educational institutions.

The young people I spoke to knew the value of education and were conversant with or open to discussing what drove those young rebels with a cause, such as Anton Lembede, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, to add fire to the liberation struggle and form the ANC Youth League.

The example of these firebrands and the story of how they rejuvenated the ANC 75 years ago was appealing. Looking back it was their intervention that ended with Nelson Mandela taking office as the first black president of South Africa.

Today, South Africa is again looking to its youth for inspiration. But a distinction must be drawn between the various youth formations attached to political parties. As the ANC Youth League, we are the true heirs of Lembede, Sisulu, Tambo and Mandela. We carry the hopes, fears and aspirations of our people. We are different from the youth that hang on the words and politics of the divisive Julius Malema and the whinging Mmusi Maimane.

In the Western Cape, the ANC Youth League, aware of the big shoes that we have to fill, is campaigning for a united province, where we will not refer to fellow citizens as refugees, as Helen Zille once did. We are earnest about tackling crime, making our schools safe sites of learning and boosting the participation of youth in business. Youth employment and participation in sport are also important to us.

So, too, is our support for the leader of the ANC and President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. He is our leader and one of the most respected presidents in the history of our glorious movement, South Africa and the globe.

However, he faces a multitude of challenges in steering the ANC in the right direction and also taking the country out of treacherous waters. In May, he’ll be asking the electorate for a mandate for the ANC to govern for another five years. We are behind President Ramaphosa in seeking this mandate. We have his back.

It’s in our interest that South Africa becomes a successful democracy that will fill all of us with hope, confidence and excitement about the future. If we want to continue the recovery we cannot be uninvolved when it comes to politics and elections. Our future is on the line and, like 1944, the Youth League is ready to serve South Africa.

The situation, as we all know, is critical. When President Ramaphosa launched the ANC Election Manifesto he said that we live in a country where, by the broader definition, over nine million South Africans are unemployed. Disturbing for us is that out of every 10 young South Africans, four are neither in employment nor in education and training.

This is a situation that mischief-making politicians are all too willing to exploit. No one could have said it better than the president when he remarked: “This is a tragedy of vast proportions, a direct challenge to the promise of our democratic constitution and the cause of great hardship and despair.”

We have launched our elections manifesto. At the core of our electioneering is a resolve to help the ANC win a decisive majority as called for by President Ramaphosa.

Such a win will give him the mandate to introduce changes that only the ANC can, accelerate the fight against corruption, build a developmental state that puts people first and that also has dedicated public servants who work diligently to improve the lives of the people.

As youth leaders, we commit ourselves to support a skills revolution in South Africa. We applaud the president’s undertaking to open up the doors of learning to all to equip young South Africans for the world of tomorrow. We also praise plans to expand fee-free education for students from poor and working-class backgrounds to cover both first- and second-year students.

The Youth League agrees that a priority for our country is the rights of women and ending discrimination and preventing violence against women and girls. We also call on all South Africans to work together to end gender-based violence and the patriarchal practices that give rise to it.

During my engagements with young people in the Western Cape, I have been made aware, over and over again, that our youth are disgruntled with the DA and want to see the change in the Western Cape.

But anger alone will not bring in the New Dawn in our province. Voting for the ANC will. That is why we are campaigning and urging all young people to vote for the change that President Ramaphosa is promising.

Source Daily Maverick

Kenya: County Mulls Enterprise Fund For Youth

By Veronica Bosibori

Nakuru County is mulling over a bill on enterprise fund to enable the youth to access loans at three per cent interest rate in order to control the bulging unemployment situation in the area.

The County Executive for youth, gender and sports, Dr. Peter Ketienye, said the county plans to open cultural centers in all the eleven sub-counties and popularize drama.

He said the increased numbers of idle youth were a danger to the economic development of the county because their potential was not being utilized and there is a possibility of them turning into criminal activities.

He promised to expand and modernize Nakuru Player’s Theater because it has a capacity of making revenue for the county and youths who are talented in drama.

MCA for Flamingo Ward, Eddy Kiragu, said the cultural committee which he heads had noted prospects of employment creation through drama, skits and fashion shows.

Kiragu added that just like music, drama should be taught in colleges so as to improve in film making and increase tourist attraction.

Source KNA

Skill-based training necessary to curb shortage of employable youth in Kenya

By Ramakrishnan Hariharan

The shortage of skilled workers in the informal sector is a growing concern for a country such as Kenya, with 77 per cent of her workforce employed in the informal sector.
It may have come as a shock to many when it was reported that a skilled welder for the SGR project could not be found.
At least half a million youth graduate from Kenyan universities annually and a majority of these do not make it to the job market owing to a lack of the skills needed for meaningful employment.

At the same time, according to a study by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, over 86 percent of Kenyan youth aged between 15 and 24 years believe that the education is the ultimate path to a successful life. Slightly below 25 per cent of the respondents cited a lack of quality education as their main challenge in life.

Only 21 percent of the respondents confessed to have college or university education, many of them for financial or other reasons, not because they lack the capability.

With such a huge demographic divide, the question remains: how can we leverage resources to fill existing gaps in the market? Kenyan youth play an integral role in our economy’s growth and can do even more.

Yet, in practice, many youths face an uphill task to participate meaningfully in a way that not only changes their lives but also has an impact on the economy.

Unlike other developing regions, sub-Saharan Africa’s population is becoming more youthful, and there has been a clear need to invest in Africa’s youth as Africa has the most youthful population and is the fastest growing region in the world.

According to a report by UNDP, by 2055 the continent’s youth population (aged 15 – 24) is expected to be more than 452 million.
In response, there has been a strong focus on technological skills that can prepare young adults for future careers that involve augmented intelligence. At the same time, there is still a need to address the existing lack of basic skills.

Source Stardard Digital

How to Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement

By Maria Jensen

Today, most people like the idea about self-improvement. It’s trendy.

But before you can improve yourself, you have to get to know who you are, what you want, and why it’s so crucial to know the answers to those questions.

Once you know who you are, what you stand for, and what you want, then you can go on to work on self-improvement.

This article will take you through the main reasons why you should take the time to get to know yourself, how to get to know yourself, and then finally how to seek self-improvement.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Why You Should Get to Know Yourself
  2. How to Get to Know Yourself
  3. How to Seek Self-Improvement
  4. Final Thoughts

Why You Should Get to Know Yourself
Many people go through life without getting a clear understanding of themselves. There’s a difference between wanting to be someone and then the actions that creates a person. It’s easy to tell people who you are, but can you actually walk the talk?

We have a tendency to brush away our shortcomings and play a certain role that we’ve intentionally or unintentionally created for ourselves. It may work for a while, but it won’t help you achieve anything in the long run.

Yes, you can say you’re a good spouse. People will believe you when they see the picture-perfect image on your office, but if you go home to a different story, it doesn’t really matter.

In the end, the opinion that matters the most are the one we hold about ourselves. A lie will drain you, overwhelm you, and unresolved emotions will resurface.

Maybe you choose a certain path many years ago and now you feel stuck. You look in the mirror and you don’t recognize yourself. The week seems endless and it’s only 7am on a Monday morning.

These are just examples. It doesn’t mean that only unhappy people need to get know themselves and seek self-improvement. Even if your life is truly as great as it looks like, it’s always worth checking in with yourself.

It’s natural to change throughout life, but too many people are afraid of reacting to this change or realize that the path they once choose may not be right anymore.

Change is scary, but it’s even more scary to ignore your emotions and not react to them. For better or worse – change is the only constant. If you get to know yourself now, then you’ll be able to handle change better. Obviously, you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.

There’s no time limit for getting to know yourself or window of opportunity. Remember that:

“Self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same thing.”

You can be at the top of your game to the outside world, but still feel the need to get to know yourself and seek self-improvement.

It’s never too late to get to know yourself, because once you do, then you’ll be ready for whatever comes next. When you know yourself, a new road won’t seem scary because you already know whether you’re planning on turning left or right.

How to Get to Know Yourself
So, it’s settled. It’s a good idea to know this person that you wake up to every morning and look at while brushing your teeth. The person in the mirror that kind of looks the same, but yet somehow seems different over time. Here comes the million dollar question: where do you start?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick answer (or solution) to this. It isn’t math. There’s no right or wrong. You can’t find a page with all the secret answers and ace the test.

Most people will get a better feeling of who they are over time by simply looking back at their previous actions, reactions and decisions. But you can also choose to take an active part of the progress right now.

Here are some active actions you can take to get to know yourself:

1. Increase Your Self-Awareness
It’s all about you now. Let the outside world exist on its own. It’s not about your neighbour or the guy from high school that posted yet another sunny picture from Dubai. It’s not about them.

Take some time to look at yourself. What have you been doing? How do you react to certain situations? What makes you smile?

And if you keep going back to comparing yourself to a specific person, then ask yourself why you’re so fixated on them. Figure yourself out. You’re worth knowing.

2. Face Your Fears
It might seem obvious, but for some reason you keep avoiding that one thing.

A lot of people let fear stand in their way even though they know deep down they have the ability to face it. It’s easy to say of course, but if you manage to overcome your weakness, it will change you for the better. You will learn from it, and you’ll know a whole lot more about your character.

Not sure how to conquer your fears? This guide can help you:

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

3. Focus on Your Strengths
It’s always a good idea to focus on what you thrive at and nurture it. It will help you become more successful, but you’ll also get a better understanding of yourself as our strengths are a big part of who we are.

Even if you’ve been running towards the wall for a while and your head is really starting to hurt – you’ll always have some strengths in you that you can return to. Go back and focus on them and see where they’ll lead you. Maybe a talent will turn into a career. Maybe a character trait will turn into a new path or relationship.

Now, let’s move on to how to go further and seek self-improvement.

Ryan Holiday said:

”You can’t learn if you think you already know. You will not find the answers if you’re too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best.”

How to Seek Self-Improvement
It’s important to leave ego behind and realize that you’ll never move forward, if you don’t accept that you’re not the best. You can always become better. Maybe you’re currently the best at your job, but you should never stop competing against yourself. It’s not about putting endless pressure on yourself. It’s about keeping yourself in movement.

Maybe you did some soul-searching and you realized that you did choose the right path. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve yourself. Or maybe you just realized that you want a completely different life. You quit your job, bought a dog and moved to a new city. Great, but you’re not done yet.

Once you tell yourself you have done what you set out to do, then you’ll run into the same wall that knocked you out in the first place.

Self-improvement is not about putting yourself down. Self-improvement is about lifting yourself up higher. The only way to do that is by accepting that you’re not the best. You can always become better. Even (or maybe especially) if you’re only competing against yourself.

Final Thoughts
Self-improvement can be applied to anything from learning a new skill, learning to deal with your anger, or putting yourself in a new situation that scares you. Some people need to change their scenery completely. Some people just need to attend a meeting every Thursday. Others may need to take up a self-defence class to feel in control again.

Sometimes life is not about gaining or achieving. Sometimes life is simply about losing and letting go.

People are capable of doing (almost) everything that the people they admire are doing. You can’t limit yourself by saying you can’t do a specific thing, because you’re you. It all comes down to mind-set and commitment. Get to know yourself and then set out clear goals.

Aristotle once said:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Reference
[1] ^ Mark Manson, The subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, page 3
[2] ^ Ryan Holiday: Ego is the enemy, page 41

This article was first published at Lifehack

Namibia: My personal reflection on President Lungu’s call to support youth entrepreneurs

By Eng Kumbukilani Phiri

For the past few days I have been restricting myself from commenting on the matter concerning the Presidents call to relevant institutions created to promote youth entrepreneurship to show cause or risk being reshuffled or fired.

Speaking in Kabwe during the Central Province Patriotic Front Conference, President Lungu cautioned against the laissez-faire attitude most institutions mandated to help and support youth entrepreneurs show. The President called for immediate action failure to which he was going to reshuffle or fire some of them.

As a youth entrepreneur, when I listened to the President’s speech, I was filled with joy to the extent that I even shed a tear. For a number of times, I have bemoaned our lack of drive as a country to support local entrepreneurship. Most of the time, we have heard government officials boasting about inviting foreigners to come and invest in Zambia. This has always made me wonder whether Zambians are incapable of being investors in their own country. Most policies have been crafted and designed to attract foreign investors with tax holidays that go for many years, yet, local investors no matter the size of their investment do not enjoy similar incentives. Local investors are made to start paying taxes right from their first day of operations. Similarly, due to this discrimination in policy development that somehow favour foreign investors, even financial institutions in the country tend to be more supportive to foreign investors than to the local ones. I have seen some foreigners come with nothing, pick up a business idea locally, go to financial institutions and get funded, yet many locals have brilliant ideas which are never operationalized and end up going to the grave with the owners. It is just appalling.

Coming back to the Presidents call for support to youth entrepreneurs, I was reluctant to comment on this matter due to my own personal experiences as a local entrepreneur. In 2017, I had the worst experience of my life as a local businessman. To date, I am still shocked and traumatized at what I went through. To make matters worse, its now almost two years since that fateful day when our hope and investment got shattered by our fellow Zambians, but still to date no progress has been made for us to recover anything and probably allow us to invest in any of our many ideas that we have.

Prior to 2017, I had managed to build a very thriving business founding and managing three companies. One was involved in construction and real estate development, the other was involved in import and wholesaling of foreign products, and the last one was formed as a diversification into timber processing and export. The diversification into timber processing and export is what brought all the misery in my business life. Some of you may still remember the lamentations and pleas I made to see to it that at least, those of us who had invested genuinely and were operating within the law were given a fair treatment and if anything supported to build our businesses according to what the government wanted at the time. To cut the long story short, my company Green Lake Zambia Limited applied and was given a concession licence to harvest and process timber in Isoka. This was after meeting all the requirements that also included an Environmental Project Brief and consent from both the Chief and the local council. When the Minister addressed us and told us that no timber was going to leave Zambia unless it was at least processed into four corners, my company obliged and went further to acquire equipment to process the timber. However, after harvesting and processing the timber and just before getting an export permit for our first consignment, government banned the harvest and trade in Mukula and all export of timber unless in finished product form. This all happened when we had already made a huge investment in millions of Kwacha that left our bank account dry. The decision to ban harvesting and trade in Mukula could perhaps be justified given the rampant illegal dealings at the time. However, special consideration should have been put in place to secure investments for legal and genuine licence holding companies. This was never done and companies like ours suffered major losses and continue to suffer to date.

When the ban was effected, there was no prior communication to the concession licence holders as required by law. To our surprise we just saw security wings coming to our processing site and saying there was a ban on harvesting and processing of timber. They even arrested four of my innocent workers despite showing them that we were not operating illegally.

At the time all this was happening, I was abroad on a business trip which I had to abort and flew to Isoka via Mbeya in Tanzania. After four days in cells and after being denied bond, we finally managed to secure bail from the court for our four workers. Thanks to the three brave Isoka residents who came to our help despite being threatened by some local officials there. The case went on for 17 months, but the people who arrested my workers failed to prosecute the case until the magistrate decided to discontinue it. During this whole time, my workers were driving from Lusaka to Isoka every month spending thousands of Kwacha to go and appear in court just for a mention. I tried everything I could to seek answers and help from all the officials I knew. However, nobody seemed to have any answers or means to help.

What makes me cry to date is that, despite eventually understanding that we were victims of circumstances, nobody seemed bothered about our predicament. Worse still, nobody seemed bothered that a fellow Zambian had lost a huge investment that could be used to invest in other areas and create employment for the many unemployed Zambians especially the youths.

During the time when all this was happening, we were treated like common criminals. The security wings refused to look at our documentation and took our timber and dumped it at the DCs office together with timber from illegal operators. Surprisingly, it was not long before ZAFFICO came with Chinese buyers to load some of the timber that was dumped at the DCs office. Very shocking indeed. The remaining timber still rots at the DCs office having gone through many seasons of rains and hot weather eventually losing all the market value and can only be good for firewood at the moment.

When It became very clear to me that there was no one who was going to help me, I started panicking and ended up writing an open letter to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu that appeared as a feature story in the Daily Nation of the 4th of October, 2017 and was widely circulated among many online news platforms. I received calls from both Zambians and foreigners from all over the world. Many Zambians in the diaspora were very concerned about how I was treated, many feared that the same thing would happen to them if they decided to bring their hard-earned money to invest in the county. The truth is that, I came back to Zambia as an investor only that I was not a foreigner as Zambia is my own country.

I called for the Presidents help because I had tried to seek answers and solutions from the government officers, Directors, Permanent Secretaries, Ministers, etc., but none seemed to have any. To me it was clear that only the President being the most powerful man in the country would help me. Unfortunately, maybe due to his busy schedule, the President may not have seen my open letter to him as I never got any feedback from him or those around him. Maybe the people who were supposed to show him the open letter never bothered because it was a Zambian investor crying for help and not a foreigner. For all I know, President Lungu is a very caring leader who would have called me or instructed those mandated to deal with such issues to quickly find a solution for us. He just recently called a young artist who had made a portrait of him and offered to buy her paintings, which clearly shows that he very much cares about the talent and plight of the youths and I can never claim to be an exception. Sadly, to date our issue has remained unresolved and nothing from our investment has been recovered.

Now that the President has spoken and warned those that are not helping youth entrepreneurs like myself, my hope has been ignited that perhaps our issue will now be looked at with the seriousness it deserves.

Many of you may be wondering why we have not gone to court as a company. Firstly, when this thing happened, we had invested all our money in the business and remained with nothing to pay any lawyer. Secondly, four of our workers were still appearing in court. We wanted the case to be resolved first before we could think of anything else. Thirdly, I have so much trust and hope in our President as a father of the nation. I was so sure that after writing that open letter to him, once he got wind of it, a solution was going to be found. This is the more reason I am writing this article with confidence that at least now that he has made a stance, perhaps he will get to read this and help us find a solution. To be honest, we have brilliant ideas that we would like to implement and employee many more Zambians than the over a hundred our company has now.

My principle is that, instead of just being critical of government to provide all of us with employment, I decided to be creative and innovative enough to create employment for myself and other youths to supplement government effort.

Finally, I am still pleading with President Lungu to consider meeting some of us from the youths who have made a choice to venture into entrepreneurship. Your Excellency, any help you will render to the youths now will stand out as your legacy when you finally decide to retire one day.

God bless

Source Lusaka Times