WINDHOEK, 18 AUG – The youth must be equipped with the necessary tools required to govern industrialised nations, President Hage Geingob has said.
Geingob made these remarks on Friday during the official opening of the 38th Ordinary Summit of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government in Windhoek.
The two-day summit is being held under the theme ‘Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’.
Geingob said equipping the youth with the necessary tools will ensure that the industrialised SADC envisaged by the people of the region, is achieved.
Geingob, who is the new SADC chairperson, stated that it is imperative that sustained economic growth is achieved in the region in order to create sufficient employment opportunities for the region’s young population.
“We have to be cognisant of the fact that to unleash the enormous potential of our youth and harness the demographic dividend, we must create within our economies the necessary opportunities for social economic transformation,” he said.
Geingob further said he believes SADC’s renewed focus on industrialisation, especially through beneficiation and value addition, will enhance the region’s competitiveness, create opportunities for young men and women to participate fully in the exploitation of the region’s abundant natural resources, as well as enable young people to be architects of their own socio-economic development.
“We expect the youth to make valuable contributions to our development agendas as political and social actors, scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs and academics,” he said.
Meanwhile, SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax in her official opening statement on Friday said the youth constitutes 75 per cent of the regional population.
“The youth holds potential as an engine for growth for the region and are key to achieving the region’s overall objectives, with prospects to bring innovative ideas and solutions,” she said.
She further stated that the regional population is estimated at close to 342.3 million, 60 per cent of whom are under the age of 35.
“With such a large and increasing youth population, the region is sitting on a gold mine which needs to be tapped,” Tax said.
She called upon all SADC member states to take advantage of the theme and harness the demographic dividend the youth offers.