Economic policies must empower youths: Mthuli

Michael Tome
Zimbabwe should implement economic policy measures that empower youths to derive economic contribution that harnesses its demographic dividend, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube has said. Demographic dividend refers to a situation where a country enjoys accelerated economic growth that stems from the decline in fertility and mortality rates and growth in the economically active population.

Research shows that a country that experiences low birth rates in conjunction with low death rates receives an economic dividend or benefit from the increase in productivity of the working population that ensues.

Addressing delegates at the launch of the Zimbabwe demographic dividend study report, Minister Ncube noted that Government should explore ways of capitalising on the growing working population, as it is a vital cog in realising economic growth and development; thus harnessing its demographic dividend.

“Government should prioritise economic reforms in order to make a difference in the lives of today’s young people and prepare them for the transformative role they are bound to play in the course of Zimbabwe’s attainment of its development aspirations.

“The reforms include ensuring faster generation of jobs for young people, improved quality of human capital, increased labour market participation, as well as empowerment of women and youths,” said Minister Ncube.

Findings of the report suggest that Zimbabwe entered the demographic dividend window around 2004, which peaked in 2012 and is projected to last until 2060.

The demographic dividend window is a period when a nation’s proportion of the working age group is most prominent. This occurs when the population is predominantly younger and percentage of the economically active is at its height.

Minister Mthuli said to harness the demographic dividend; Government had to contain runaway birth rates especially in the adolescent age group by encouraging the group to further their education at the same time promoting use of contraceptives.

“Harnessing the demographic dividend requires that Government, civil society, business, development partners, and the nation at large jointly address the increasing adolescent fertility rate through keeping adolescents in school and colleges and creating jobs for them.

“Making it easy for them to access family planning information, services and designing programmes which will encourage contraceptive use intended to delay the first birth within marriage,” said Minister Ncube.

Experts say lower birth rates translate to fewer people to support and more people in the labour force, an economy’s resources are freed up and invested in other areas to accelerate a country’s economic development and the future prosperity of its populace.

Source: The Herald

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