SA should accelerate mass youth employment, entrepreneurship - Mashatile

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

South Africa should prioritise the creation of mass youth employment and business opportunities, said Deputy President Paul Mashatile.

The Deputy President believes that this should be done by implementing policies that foster entrepreneurship, enhance vocational training, improve access to finance, and encourage private-sector investment. 

“We can empower our youth and pave the way for a prosperous future,” he stressed. 

The country’s second-in-command was delivering the keynote address at the South African Youth Economic Council (SAYEC) Gala Dinner at the Marriot Hotel in Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

The platform focused on “assessing government and private sector policies necessary for mass youth employment and business opportunities in South Africa”. 

“This theme serves as a compelling call for both the government and private sector to collaborate to evaluate and deliberate on strategies that can expedite the involvement of young individuals in the critical sectors of the economy.”

As government, he told the delegates that the government values the role that youth and youth bodies, including SAYEC, play in moulding the nation's future and propelling its development. 

“Your energy, creativity, and determination possess the potential to unlock untapped opportunities within our economy.”

He acknowledged that like other countries globally, South Africa is grabbling with challenges of unemployment.

“Furthermore, some challenges are associated with effectively integrating young people into the economy.”

He also stressed a need for further development of the skills necessary to secure formal employment or establish successful business opportunities specifically tailored for youth.

Deputy President Mashatile encouraged youngsters with an aptitude for business to grab entrepreneurial opportunities and start enterprises relevant to their skills.

“South Africa has a diverse economy with several promising sectors that entrepreneurs can take advantage of.” 

He said sectors currently driving the economy include manufacturing, retail, financial services, mining, agriculture, tourism, and the green industry.

“The green sector offers a range of possibilities for entrepreneurs interested in sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies and practices.” 

Renewable energy, he said, particularly solar, waste management, including recycling, and sustainable packaging is currently crucial. 

“There are also opportunities to meet the growing demand for sustainable and energy-efficient building practices in South Africa.”

He went on to touch on investing in the mining sector. 

“We agree with you that this is an important sector that we must teach our young people how to run and manage these industries, as they are the future and next generation of industry leaders.

“The current state of the mining industry is not very impressive. We presently export raw materials, and we must create opportunities for youth-led manufacturing and industrial endeavours,” he admitted.  

He said mining is a costly endeavour, requiring the creation of more funding opportunities for youth. 

“I urged the youth to interact with a variety of investors to provide more capital so that the youth can transform their ideas into reality and become producers and not just consumers.”

“We must create an enabling policy framework encouraging private sector investment in youth-focused industries,” he added. –