Malawi social economic forum for successful youth entrepreneurship

Government acknowledged lack of financial capital as the major barrier hindering success of youth entrepreneurship.

Speaking in Lilongwe Tuesday during the Malawi social economic forum which attracted a number of participants from within and across the globe, The Vice President, Dr. Saulosi Claus Chilima said 52 percent of the country’s youths were un-able to get capital from the banks to start up businesses.

The Vice President while emphasizing on the importance of the forum noted that, for Malawi to develop and reduce her unemployment rates there was need to harness the entrepreneurship concept.

Chilima said, “There are a number of platforms to harness youth entrepreneurship. This is why, because of its relevance to the country. Government established the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (SMEDI) in addition to the Department of Micro, Small and Medium enterprise in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

“The government also started One Village One Product (OVOP) initiative to promote entrepreneurship to the general population.”

He added: “government also initiated the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDEF) that targeted the youth in entrepreneurship by providing them with soft loans and business equipment. YEDEF was merged with Malawi Rural Development Fund (MARDEF) to form the current Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF).”

As a way of enhancing youth entrepreneurship, Chilama said Government was seriously investing in Community Technical Colleges knowing that many youth would be horned in various skilss.

The Vice President appealed to all prospective entrepreneurs to re-invest their profits, avoid purchase of expensive gadgets and cars when they start making more money and stop living larger than themselves.

United Nation’s Resident Coordinator, Mia Seppo concurred with Chilima acknowledging that youth unemployment remains very high in Malawi.

” While unemployment for the highly educated youth has lower relative to youth with other education levels, the situation is already becoming more problematic as increased numbers of graduates from universities enter the labour market, with new skills and knowledge but slimmer employment opportunities,” she said.

Statistics shows that 2013 Malawi Labour Force Survey estimated that overall unemployment was at 21 percent. Of the employed people, 89 percent work in informal sector.

Youth unemployment was 23 percent for ages 15-34 years and 27.5 percent for ages 15-24 years.

It is therefore, a fact that the Malawi population is dominated by the youths.

Other sources estimate youth dependency ratio at 87.9 percent implying an enormous burden on the working group.

It is also estimated that 71 percent of employed people live on less than US$1.25 a day. This means that more interventions are necessary, even to the employed, in order to increase incomes of which entrepreneurship is one.

The Malawi Socio Economic Forum was held under the theme, youth entrepreneurship: creating opportunities to build mother Malawi.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA