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Zambian President calls for strong global partnership on youth employment

Zambia looks forward to a process that will “lift millions of our people out of poverty,” the President of Zambia, Michael Chilufya Sata told delegates to the International Labour Conference.

News | 08 June 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) – The President of Zambia, Michael Chilufya Sata, called for a strong global partnership to tackle youth employment amid an ever-increasing number of unemployed youth worldwide in 2012.

The global youth unemployment rate for 2012 remains stuck at crisis peak levels and there will be nearly 75 million unemployed youth aged 15 to 24 in 2012, an increase of nearly 4 million since 2007, according to the latest ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth.

“The goal of my government is, therefore, to achieve higher and sustainable economic growth that will uplift the lives of our youth and the other vulnerable groups in our country,” Sata said.

The goal of my government is to achieve higher and sustainable economic growth that will uplift the lives of our youth."
President Sata
The country’s economic performance was significantly affected by the global financial and economic crisis. Depending largely on a single export commodity – copper – the fall in prices and external demand led to significant revenue and job losses. The Southern African country is currently working on diversifying its economy with new investments in infrastructure, labour-based technology as well as “manufacturing, tourism and agro-industry, which can create more employment for the youth,” President Sata explained.

“Enhancing dialogue with key partners is crucial to getting the right policies in place,” he underscored, adding that “for trade to have a real impact in terms of economic benefits, it must be accompanied by measures targeted at enhancing productivity, job creation, value addition, respect of labour standards and diversification”.

A new policy dialogue conference involving the Zambian government, employers and workers as well as youth, ILO, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, was held last month in Lusaka to outline a new growth strategy for employment, decent work and development in Zambia.

President Michael Sata concluded with an appeal to strengthen the ILO field office in Zambia, “in order to effectively support such initiatives, including the implementation of the Decent Work Country Program in Zambia”.

Video highlights of Zambian President, Michael Chilufya's intervention at the 101st International Labour Conference