Youth vital to Africa’s development – PM

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Michael Mutonga
Liswaniso

Rundu-Young people are a vital resource on the African continent’s development agenda and should thus be encouraged to enter the public service that is geared towards the improvement of the lives of citizens through citizen-centred public service delivery, said Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

The prime minister was speaking as the guest of honour at the two-day Africa Public Service Day (APSD) celebrations hosted by the small but growing town of Nkurenkuru in Kavango West Region that started on Wednesday and ended yesterday.

The event was celebrated under the theme, ‘Entrenching a Citizen-Centred Service Delivery Culture: Partnering with the Youth for Africa’s Transformation.’ She said the theme was befitting given the fact that 60 percent of the African population today consists of people younger than 24 years old.

The theme gave birth to the sub-theme, ‘Nurturing a Culture of Professionalism and Ethical Values in Africa’s Public Service,’ that was also deliberated on.

“The involvement of young people in the social, economic and political spheres is the key to sustaining our ongoing development journey. We will not reach our destinations if our youth are not part of our development journey,” said the prime minister.

She expressed disappointment in the fact that 43.4 percent of the unemployed are the youth between the ages of 15 to 34.

“This is an alarming situation which needs urgent attention from not only the government but the private sector and individuals. The government is creating a conducive environment for private sector entrepreneurial start-ups and growth-oriented SMEs, as well as encouraging the establishment of youth-owned enterprises with the assistance of government interventions,” she stated.

Governor of Kavango East Region, Sirkka Ausiku, commended Kuugongelwa-Amadhila for “beating the clock” as she had earlier just arrived from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia but made it to Nkurenkuru.

Ausiku said although the region is currently the “last born” having been created only in 2013, it is able to host big events.

“I thought we are still a baby but we are no more a baby,” she said.
She expressed her concern over the budget cuts, saying they have affected infrastructure development and the operations of some government institutions and agencies.

“The region is 99 percent rural and lacks services. Development in the region is hampered by poor road infrastructure networks, inadequate water infrastructure, lack of rural electrification infrastructure and no communication networks throughout the region. The region also continues to experience difficulties in obtaining information from offices, ministries and agencies on how the allocated development and operational budget is implemented in the region addressing developmental activities related to economic advancement, infrastructure development, human capital development and social progression,” Ausiku said.

The APSD celebrations have become an annual event on the African Union calendar, following a declaration of African Ministers of Public/Civil Service in 1994. June 23 was declared as the day to celebrate APSD.

Home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana was also in attendance.

*Michael Mutonga Liswaniso is an information officer at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Rundu in Kavango East.

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