Zambian Technocrats in SA To Study Labour Intensive Strategy Implementation
Story and pictures courtesy of His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba and Lusaka Times
A team of nine technocrats from different government agencies and departments is in South Africa for a study tour which is expected to lead to the adoption of labour based technologies as a core strategy of employment creation for the youth and other vulnerable groups in Zambia.
This is according to a statement released to the media by Press Secretary at the Zambian Embassy in South Africa Nicky Shabolyo.
The tour which has been organised under the auspices of the National Council for Construction (NCC) is focusing on policy level requirements for successful institutionalisation of labour based technology.
The overall objective of the assignment is to promote appreciation and understanding in the adoption and use of Labour Based Technologies in the Zambian construction industry value chain and to, thereby, create job opportunities for the unemployed youths and other vulnerable groups.
It is envisaged that this will be achieved through developing a policy document that will outline the approach and options for adoption of labour based technologies in Zambia.
Delegation leader, who is also NCC acting chief executive officer Mr. Francis Mwape said the unemployment problem in Zambia remained persistent and continued to grow with much of the labour force related to the youth entering into the job market annually. This increasing supply of workers in the labour market is not being met by commensurate increase in the numbers of jobs being created on the demand side.
Mr. Mwape said to meet the challenge of unemployment, Government through the Revised Sixth National Development Plan(R-SNDP) has identified the construction sector as a key driver to reducing unemployment under the premise that the demand for private and public infrastructure projects will keep the sector buoyant.
“Thus, to unlock the potential of the sector for job creation, the R-SNDP has placed emphasis on adopting alternative techniques that are labour intensive such as cobblestones in road building and the use of pavers among others,” he said.
He pointed out that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has emphasised the use of employment-intensive growth through design of policies and programmes which aim at increasing the employment impact of investments.
“It is in this regard, that the large scale public investments in infrastructure are ideal areas for government to maximize and use for employment creation,” Mr. Mwape noted.
He was speaking when the delegation paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s High Commissioner-Designate to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba at his office in Pretoria.
Mr. Mwape said the team decided to visit South Africa because the country was a success story considering the number of jobs it has created since adopting the strategy in 2003.
South Africa has segmented the implementation process of the programme into five-year phases with about 5.6 million jobs created in the last two phases.
He said 38 percent of indigenous South African contractors have later been able to be self-reliant, which he pointed out was a success story.
“The advantages are that labour based or intensive based technology allows for skills exchange which enables people to stand on their own when not in employment. 38 percent of local contractors in South Africa have been able to stand on their own. This means it has been a huge success because usually and based on studies, only 10 percent make it. And what is good is that this approach has been approved by their Cabinet,” Mr. Mwape said.
He said the team had five weeks to conclude its work and prepare a report which will be submitted to the NCC for onward action.
Funds for the study, among other activities, have been made available under the Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project (RRMP) by the International Development Agency (IDA) of the World Bank to the NCC.
And in his response, the High Commissioner said unemployment was a crisis in Zambia and that programmes such as this one were important to the country.
He bemoaned the fact that Zambia was spending a lot of money of infrastructure projects yet this was not benefitting Zambians in the manner it should.
Mr. Mwamba said there was need for realignment of all landmark projects such as Link Zambia, so that they could start to benefit Zambians.
He commended Cabinet for reserving certain forms of jobs for Zambians saying “this is the right thing.”
“We are in a crisis. You cannot have such a huge number of people ready to work but cannot find jobs. This is where you should come in. We ought to be practical at policy level and this should be supported by appropriate directives.”
Mr. Mwamba said the study was important for the country as it will result into policy that will help the country create employment.
He also called for an urgent revision of Zambia’s education curricula so that they could take on board programmes that would enable individuals survive even outside employment.
Others in the team where Mr. Brian Mutale, Mr. Chance Kaonga, Mr. Martin Daka, all from NCC, Dr. Michael Mulenga from the University of Zambia, Dr. Albert Malama from the Copperbelt University, Mr. Fanizani Phiri from the Ministry of Local Government, Mr. George Manyele from the Road Development Agency and Mr. Orphan Hachinene from the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority.
L – R – Project consultant, Mr. …Mulenga and His Execellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba and First Secretary for Economic and Trade Mr. Mande Kauseni during meeting
Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba (r) with NCC acting CEO, Mr. Francis Mwape