It is not surprising that most Africans believe that African countries need to re-prioritise and refocus their education careers on areas that will build their economies. As part of the African continent, South Africa is currently in a desperate need to put more emphases on growing its economy which would also help to uplift the country, her people and status.
Looking at it from all angles, job creation is crucial for economic growth and the more South Africans address the need to create employment for especially young people, the more chances avail themselves to help to improve the quality of life.
Attracting foreign investments into the country is also one of the best ways which can assist in building local economies and South Africa must applaud increasing efforts taken by the country’s newly appointed head of state, Cyril Ramaphosa.
The current low employment status in the country is working against efforts to grow the economy and we believe that unemployment needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Job creation is certainly not the responsibility of government alone. Indeed the private sector must come on board if Mzansi has to win its battle against poor economic development.
We welcome the efforts of the organisers of last week’s business bilateral trade and investment seminar between South Africa and Uganda which took place in Kampala hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti)
One of the speakers representing South Africa included Acting South African High Commissioner in Uganda, Phumeza Mukendi.
The seminar, which was attended by about 200 businesspeople, was part of the five-day Outward Trade and Investment Mission to Uganda organised by the dti. A total of 25 South African companies operating in the agro-processing, capital equipment, energy and furniture sectors arrived in the East African country over the weekend in search of trade and investment opportunities. The purpose of the mission was to increase bilateral trade and investment between South Africa and Uganda.
“Sixty percent of the general population of both Uganda and South Africa is made up of young people between the ages of 18 and 35, and many of these people are unemployed graduates.
We do agree with Mukendi that skills development especially, also played an outstanding role in economic growth.
“I must add that I do not think that Africa has a scarcity of jobs, but Africa needs certain skills to grow its economy. It is a matter of us re-prioritising and re-focussing our education to areas that will build our economies. More than ever before, the continent needs electricians, plumbers, furniture makers, scientists, physicists, agro-scientists, and so on,” said Mukendi.
She added that it was time for Africans to make their own furniture rather than import it from other parts of the world, for an example, notwithstanding the possibility that the same timber probably came from the African forests.
“We have to look carefully at these things as we talk about intra-Africa trade, free trading areas, employment creation, economic growth, regional integration and food security. We need to invest in agriculture and encourage young people to study it so that we can feed ourselves and be self-sustaining,” added Mukendi.
She said although the continent was endowed with fertile land that is conductive for agriculture to prosper, there was low productivity with low application of science and technology while the bulk of knowledge-based services were imported. “This emphasises the need and importance of re-prioritising our education in order to equip the young people with the necessary skills and knowledge required by our economies in this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” concluded Mukendi.
Early this month, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe told a youth career expo in Ekurhuleni that Africa only had 300 000 managers of a million the continent needed to effectively run its economy.