Lilongwe: On Tuesday 8 December the EU Delegation to Malawi, in collaboration with the Government of Malawi and the African Union, held a one-day conference on youth employment in Malawi. With 90% of jobs currently in the informal sector and 51% of the Malawian population 18 or younger, youth employment is a major issue in the country and one that can significantly boost economic and social development.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen, who joined virtually, reiterated the EU’s commitment to supporting the Government and the people of Malawi in their drive to create more jobs for the youth. “With its very large young population, nowhere is the theme of youth empowerment more relevant than in Malawi. That is why the ambitious initiative to create one million jobs for Malawians within one year is so important. This is a moment of opportunity, and EU will be by your side,” She said.
In his remarks, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, Saulos Klaus Chilima observed that while the social and economic importance of the youth is nationally acknowledged in strategic documents, Malawi’s youth sector remains maligned both in terms of political status and fiscal priority in budgetary allocations.
“In an environment where the education system is predominantly tilted towards preparing graduates for white collar employment, economic stagnation or jobless economic growth have resulted in growing youth disillusionment and despondency about their economic prospects.
"However, these are the issues that are at the heart of some of us and through His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic, we will ensure that our youths have jobs, are supported with business opportunities as well as acquire vocational skills,” he said.
The event had several components: an exhibition hall displaying successful, innovative and often green companies and projects (including six EU-funded ones) supporting skills development and job creation in Malawi. There were also two panel discussions, one on job creation for young people and another on skills development in Malawi.
Minister of Labour, Ken Kandodo, said the Ministry would come up with a job creation strategy in order to have clear picture of the challenges that are holding back the job creation initiative in Malawi.
It was reassuring to note that the Government is working on establishing building blocks for a more sustainable (and realistic) approach to job creation in the country. This includes a data collection exercise on all employment opportunities in the formal economy, which will be transferred, to an employment database in 2021 which employers and future employees can consult, generating much needed data on the formal job market in the country.