Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu has urged youths to identify opportunities that came with the Coronavirus pandemic and start doing business.
Addressing youths in his constituency at Dingimuzi Hall in Plumtree on Thursday, Minister Ndhlovu, said despite the challenges facing the country youths should look at what solutions they can provide.
“We will be judged by what we changed or what we started which will create long lasting benefits for the generations to come despite problems, the challenges what solutions can we provide.
“All of a sudden America realised that 90 percent of their medicine is manufactured in China when there was coronavirus. “Today, they’re busy capacitating their factories to start manufacturing and this is right through.
“We didn’t know we had the capacity to make masks, to make our own sanitizers primary schools and secondary schools today are manufacturing sanitizers.
“Young people including our own youths are manufacturing masks. I saw abanye (others) complaining bati ama masks ayadhula (they’re saying masks are are expensive) but that’s an opportunity,” Minister Ndhlovu said.
“We didn’t know that we have capacity to repair our own ventilators until NUST stood up and said let’s see if our engineers can do it.
“Already in Mpilo and UBH they have revived those ventilators and we have created solutions. I think if we miss the momentum created by the pandemic, the pandemic has its own problems let’s identify opportunities.”
Unpacking the Youth Fund stimulus package unveiled by Government, Minister Ndholvu urged youths around the country to unlock opportunities.
“We are importing not less than US$4.5 billion worth of goods including amazambani, we’re importing ground nuts to do peanut butter, we’re importing potatoes, we’re importing baked beans onions, I saw a 30 truck with onions at the border so I’m saying let us take this opportunities to identify what we can do not looking at only Plumtree.
“I dare you look at the entire country even look at the region. I think at this point we’re much closer to be supplying whole region with hand sanitizers because in Masvingo we’re getting ethanol which we use to manufacture (sanitizers) but beyond that we now have entreprenuers who are now doing the actual manufacturing.”
He said he was happy that youths were now thinking on how best to unlock opportunities despite funding constraints.
“Funding will always be a challenge but I think progressively Government will look into that the ZWL$500 million venture fund.
“I think we will need to get it working which primarily addresses the entrepreneurial spirit young people have where we want to see innovative ideas getting the right support which it deserves especially to start new businesses,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Youths Tino Machakaire who attended the meeting said they were looking at addressing problems facing the youths.
He said “Government was fully aware that some youths had not yet received relief funds and would soon be getting their fund.” He, however, urged more youths to register for the funding.
Minister Ndhlovu also toured Climate Adaptation for Rural Livelihoods (CARL) Project which is being funded by Swedish International Development Agency and a joint undertaking of Oxfam Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean organization SAFIRE, the University of Zimbabwe and Swedish Meteorological Hydrological Institute (SMHI).
The project aims to improve socio-economic well-being of Zimbabwe’s rural population by reducing poverty and food insecurity in the face of climate change.
The project strengthens smallholder farmers’ capacities to withstand climate change, adapt to climate change and transform in light of climate change, with the aim of building climate resilient villages for the years to come.
To date, the project is supporting women and youth with Siyephi Garden made up of 123 youths with 82 female and 41 male involved in nutritional gardening and rehabilitation of a dam for livestock and diversified livelihoods.
Attendees were Zanu PF acting secretary for youth Affairs Tendai Chirau, Mike Chimombe, a youth executive and Matebeleland South youth chairman, Washington Nkomo.