Cyril Ramaphosa outlines actions to reduce 64% youth unemployment rate
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday outlined a number of interventions government plans to use to address the country’s dismal youth unemployment rate.
Ramaphosa virtually addressed the national Youth Day commemoration event in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital of Pietermaritzburg.
Delivering his keynote address, Ramaphosa said government would place the youth at the centre of its national recovery plan as the economy continues to suffer from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
He acknowledged SA’s 64% youth unemployment rate, saying it is something no country can afford.
"Young people are the force that drives a country and grows its economy. Young people are a source of innovation and new ideas. Young people have energy and talent. Young people are resilient and never give up, even when it is difficult,” he said.
Among government’s initiatives to address youth unemployment - including the Presidential Employment Stimulus, of which R11bn has been set aside to promote youth employment and alleviate poverty - Ramaphosa also officially launched the SAYouth.mobi online platform.
The platform will require a person to create a profile which will allow them to view opportunities for learning and earning, and receive support through multiple channels.
“SAYouth.mobi has been zero-rated by all mobile networks so it can be accessed by young people from anywhere in the country at absolutely no cost. This will complement our existing efforts to create physical spaces where young people can go to access information, opportunities and support.”
Ramaphosa said the platform is already supporting more than 1.4-million young people, with the hopes of growing this number by an additional three million young people over the next five years.
He also launched mPowa, a new platform in the SA Youth network developed by mLab in partnership with the department of science and innovation.
“It aims to provide young work-seekers and entrepreneurs with information about services and support available in their area. This platform builds on the success of the Youth Explorer, which has gathered and verified data on the services available to young people across the country.”
The president said government was piloting a new model of skills development where training is directly linked to employment in key growth sectors of the economy.
“In its first phase, this will create training and job opportunities for young people in digital skills and global business services. This is in addition to the 137,000 learning opportunities created through online courses in digital skills by the National Electronic Media Institute of SA and the department of communications and digital technologies.”
Ramaphosa revealed that the department of small business development and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) had expanded the target of youth-owned enterprises to reach 15,000 young entrepreneurs through a Challenge Fund supported by the department, the NYDA and the European Union.
“Through these programmes we will create real opportunities for young people to grow their skills and earn an income. SAYouth.mobi is the door through which young people can view and access these opportunities. The challenge of youth unemployment can seem insurmountable. However, we know what we need to do to address it.”