By Hilary Mare
PRESDENT Hage Geingob has called on the Chinese business community and investors to contribute to youth empowerment in SADC by promoting business and investment in the areas of Research and Development, Innovation, Science and Technology.
Speaking at a high level dialogue between Chinese and African leaders and business representatives at the Summit of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Geingob highlighted that in the Southern African region, the youth are a priority to advance regional development and integration, which is clearly demonstrated through the adoption of the 38th SADC Summit theme.
“As such, the youth need to be empowered through the harnessing of skills, and entrepreneurship development. For our youth to be the drivers of our industrialisation agenda and economic development, it is pertinent that they develop the requisite competencies and capacities. We are confident that through FOCAC, we will develop a mechanism to support the development of our young people,” said the head of state.
According to a UN report in 2017, the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to be more than double that of 2015, totalling 226 million by the year 2055.
“Such a ‘demographic dividend’ is an asset for the continent, because alongside abundant natural resources, the young population offers enormous potential as the engine for growth in our region,” added Geingob.
He further stated that the SADC region has made significant strides in terms of youth empowerment, through on-going regional initiatives in education and skills development.
“One of these is the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Framework and Implementation Plan 2018-2027. This is intended to augment the SADC industrialisation process through provision of adequate and relevant skills for industry competitiveness and increased access to skills programs, in order to ensure the meaningful participation of young people in the industrialisation agenda.”
Given China’s renowned track record of industrial development and technological advancement, Geingob also added that SADC wished to leverage its relationship through FOCAC, in order to advance technological transformation in our region.
“For trade liberalisation to contribute meaningfully to sustainable development, poverty reduction and job creation, it must be complimented with the requisite capacities to produce, and to trade efficiently and effectively. It is for this reason that SADC has developed the Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
“We invite the People’s Republic of China and its investment community to partner with us in supporting projects in priority sectors such as manufacturing, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture and tourism. Along with the profiling of the priority sectors and subsequent value-chain development, there is also a need for support in the development and promotion of Special Economic and Development Zones and Industrial Clusters as a key to encouraging technological development and innovation,” said Geingob.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015