By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
President Lazarus Chakwera who is currently attending UN General Assembly in New York has once again said his administration is so much committed to address employment challenges being faced by Malawians especially the youth who are in majority.
Making his statement at the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transition, on Sunday, 17th September, 2023, President Lazarus Chakwera said Government of Malawi is fully committed to the Global Accelerator Initiative, hence aligning with the strategy to rapidly expand social protection and create quality jobs in order to address the labour, employment, and social protection challenges.
“Malawi has a youthful population, 80 percent of which is under 35 years of age, and nearly 28 percent of the working-age individuals are not actively involved in meaningful economic activities. This picture result in an overall 21 percent unemployment rate.
Out of the labour force that is in employment, 89 percent is in the informal sector, and faces numerous challenges such as low wages, limited social protection, and skill gaps” Narrated President Chakwera in his address.
He further disclosed that Malawi’s reliance on seasonal agricultural work has exacerbated the situation, adding that the recent macroeconomic shocks like Tropical Cyclone Freddy that devastated the country in March 2023, have compounded the challenges with over half of the population living below the poverty line making it crucial to address such issues for a long-term stability and development.
However, President Chakwera was optimistic that if collectively they seize the available opportunities to expedite economic recovery and national progress, the challenges can be cushioned.
“My Government has prioritized the agricultural sector, which contributes the most to the country’s GDP, at 25 percent, and which employs 80 percent of our workforce. Through diversification, mechanization, and value addition, we aim to boost productivity and generate decent work, without compromising the level of employment.
We emphasize on private sector investment and innovation to drive these initiatives in agriculture. Our efforts at expanding Agri-TVET Programmes will equip the youth with modern skills and entrepreneurial capabilities, thus covering the identified gaps” Added the Malawi leader.
President Chakwera has since applauded the UN Secretary-General for the initiative which was launched in September 2021 to propel economic recovery, promote decent jobs, and ensure protection for UN member states.