Young people are heavily affected by Tanzania‘s urgent development issues with age and gender hierarchical societies reinforcing young people‘s exclusion in decision making from community to national level.
The East African nation of Tanzania has an estimated population of 50 million as of 2016. The country has made great strides in economic and structural reforms, which helped aid the country’s relatively stable and high growth performance over the last decade (6.5 per cent per annum).
While the poverty rate has declined recently, the absolute number of the poor has not changed given the fast pace of population growth (over 3 per cent per annum).
However, the prospects of the economy lean on investing in bottleneck-releasing infrastructure, improving the business environment, increasing agricultural productivity and value addition, improving service delivery to build a healthy and skilled workforce and better managing urbanisation.
With approximately 800,000 youth entering into labour force every year, nurturing a vibrant private sector to provide productive jobs to those new is critically important.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, during the commencing of the UN Week Youth Symposium, whose main theme is “Tanzania’s youth-their role in Tanzania’s economic and social development”, Prof Elisante Ole Gabriel, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information, Culture, Artists and Sports urged over 200 youth who had attended the symposium “think what exactly you are doing to the community and that community will remember you for your contributions.” Adding:
“You will not be remembered because of your position but rather for the social development contributions you have done for them.”
Prof Gabriel said that the government and other stakeholders have a major task of constructing the positive thinking culture of Tanzanian youth.
He mentioned the four major challenges facing the Tanzania’s youth as mindset, value addition of the products they produce, capital and unfriendly social systems to the youth.
“My advice to you youth is that you should deal with the challenge of mindset with great integrity and faithfulness, of which many youth wholly depend on the government to do everything for them.
Adding. “You need to bear in mind what the Father of the Nation Mwl Julius Nyerere once said that ‘you shouldn’t ask what the government should do for you’, but instead ask what you should do for your government,” he urged.
He further detailed that the youth are living during an era that has many challenges posed mainly by globalisation, internationalisation and technology advancements. “If you are not keen in your endeavours during your youth age you will be socially deconstructed.
Adding “The speed of technology is taking the planet earth to unknown destination due to social deconstruction, hence the social construction should base on utilising it towards social and economic development.
If you allow globalisation to manage you, it will totally destruct your youth value, culture, and your capacity of thinking (Geocentric). “Any country without its own value references and culture is doomed,” he warned.
Prof Ole Gabriel further noted that according to 2016 statistics, there are around 16.2 million youth in Tanzania. 8.3 million are girls and 7.9 million are boys. In total this group makes up over 70 per cent of the nation workforce. “If we don’t have good value ideal for our youth, the government will have wrong direction.”
He further said that if the country wanted to attain rapid developments it should ensure many youth are involved in agribusiness. “This country depends a lot on you; hence, you should consider yourself as very important people.
“Youth age is temporally, think on what you will do the community and not what the community will do for you. You will only be remembered by your contribution and not your position.” Ole Gabriel said.
For her part, Youth Employment Technical Manager at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Annamarie Kiaga, said that the symposium offered the youth a chance to air their concerns over the economic situation that they find themselves in as young people and get answers from key stakeholders from the development community and government who are working towards improving the well-being of youth in Tanzania.
She further noted that the youth would also have a chance to hear from and interact with their fellow youth who run their own businesses and have been insisted by ILO through various programmes.
She has urged that the youth to seriously grab the available opportunities as there is enough support from the government.
“ILO already has set policies that will boost government efforts into not only employ themselves but promote economic and social development.”
General Secretary of Gerezani Secondary School, Matilda Moses called on for child awareness on gender equity and equality as many students are denied of their rights unknowingly.
“We once visited one of the schools in Kondoa division, Dodoma Region and were able to find out that the division of labour between girls and boys was unfair as girls were given more tasks to perform than boys.”
The UN Week youth Symposium that took place on Tuesday this week in Dar es Salaam ahead of the UN Day which takes places on 24th October, 2016, brought together around 200 youth from various universities, secondary schools and youth groups such as the University of Dar es Salaam, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Benjamin William Mkapa Secondary and Raleigh International.
UN Day takes place on Tuesday next week and will be commemorated by the government, the UN along with other development partners and stakeholders with a flag raising ceremony and parade at Karimjee Grounds in Dar es Salaam.
Other sources indicate that 50 per cent of the world‘s population is under 25. That‘s 3 billion people. Young people are most affected by extreme poverty, lack of employment and poor health.
All too often they are also the group with the fewest opportunities to contribute to the decision making processes that could change this.