President Lazarus Chakwera yesterday said Malawi has taken significant steps to fully invest in its human capital, especially the youth.
He said this during a panel discussion at the inaugural Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit taking place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
During the panel discussion under the theme ‘Are we ready to invest in young Africans’, Chakwera acknowledged that just like the rest of Africa, Malawi has a large youth population that needs to be absorbed into the labour force.
The President informed the delegates at the World Bank-funded summit that according to the 2018 Malawi Population and Housing Census, youths constituted nine percent of Malawi’s population of 17 million.
“Malawi has already implemented various education and skills development programmes tailored for the youth,” he said in response to a question on addressing this demographic challenge.
One of the successful initiatives mentioned by Chakwera was the government’s internship programme, which started in 2018.
“This programme has proven effective in facilitating the entry of numerous young people into the labour force,” he said.
Chakwera further said channelling more resources to the youth and enhancing skills development will widen economic opportunities which will in turn make the Malawi 2063 possible.
“African leaders must demonstrate that youths have the potential and that their country is a place where they can live and work for a better future by concentrating on programmes that will make them realise their full potential,” he said.
The President said going forward, government will invest between 15 and 20 percent of the national budget to ministries such as Education, Health, Labour and Youth, to ensure that the youth realise their potential to contribute positively to national development.
“My administration will also invest more in food security and job creation through promoting technical and vocational skills as one way of boosting human capital,” said Chakwera.
Speaking during the opening of the summit, Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan also called on fellow African leaders and development partners to accelerate investments in learning, health and skills to secure the productivity of the continent’s people.
“It is time to change our approach on human capital from being mere expenditures to productive investments that are high GDP contributors,” she said.
On her part, World Bank Eastern and Central Africa regional vice-president Victoria Kwakwa said the summit is important as African countries will be able to discuss how to take on board human capital for economic acceleration.
She said: “Without eliminating human capital crisis successfully, African countries risk to be trapped in economic growth as there will be more unhealthy, uneducated and unskilled youth.
“There is need for political will and commitment to make human capital the cornerstone of development.”
A statement released by presidential press secretary Anthony Kasunda yesterday, said President Chakwera’s participation at the summit underscores Malawi’s commitment to investing in youth and developing their potential.
The summit is being held on the theme ‘Linking investments in human capital to economic growth and harnessing the demographic dividend’. n—Additional reporting by ROBERT NAYEJA, Mana.