Zambia to create 200,000 decent jobs annually – Chikwanda

GOVERNMENT has instituted measures that will result in the creation of at least 200,000 decent and productive jobs annually, says Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda.

Mr Chikwanda said government had taken job creation as a top priority after realizing that as long as poverty and unemployment persisted, there could be no true peace in the world.

Speaking when he officially launched a two-day Pegnet conference at Government Complex in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Chikwanda said it was gratifying that Zambia was having increased interactions and exchange of ideas on employment strategies in the developing world.

“We have in this regard instituted measures for industrialization and job creation aimed at improving the living standards of our people.

“Our target in the strategy is to create at least 200, 000 decent and productive jobs per annum,” said Mr Chikwanda.

He told participants at the conference whose theme is “Employment Strategies in the developing world: How to create sufficient, productive and decent jobs”, that as an important step towards  achieving that ambitious goal, government had realigned the National Development Plan to conform to the agenda of promoting growth that supported job creation.

He said the Zambian government had also initiated youth programmes to improve skills and increase resources available to the youth to reduce high levels of youth unemployment.

Mr Chikwanda said government had also resolved to continue collaborating with the private sector in supporting micro, small and medium enterprises.

Earlier, director of the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) Dr Pamela Kabaso said for many years the world has existed as a dichotomy between rich and poor  nations and people.

She said there were many episodes in history that demonstrated the non-commonality of challenges faced by the two camps.

Dr Kabaso said that Zambia, and ZIPAR in particular, was delighted to co-host the conference which had come at a time the country was  celebrating the Golden Jubilee of independence.

She said the causes and dimensions of unemployment had both been an engrossing and an elusive area of inquiry. There are no hard and fast solutions which apply to every country at every particular time.

Dr Kabaso said the challenges faced by developing nations were still special in that they existed in a social, cultural and economic dispersion totally different from that of the developed world.