Zimbabwe can realise an Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030. Such youth-centric approaches to macroeconomic development can only be fostered through the active engagement and involvement of the youth in national economic blueprint and policy formulation. Hence, a decisive and deliberate policy shift to enhance the participation of the youth in national economic blueprint and policy formulation is of the essence. Such a policy is a matter of generational economic sustainability and the creation of a positive long term economic trajectory for the nation.Engaging the Youth in Economic Governance and Policy Formulation is Key to attaining Vision 2030.
Despite being the largest demographic group in Zimbabwe, the youth continue to be sidelined when it comes to economic governance and the formulation of national economic blueprints. Zimbabwe is expected to achieve Upper Middle Income Society status by 2030 as forecasted by the Government of Zimbabwe in its popular vision 2030. The Second Republic under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Developmenthas developed several economic blueprints aimed at achieving this goal. A consistent feature in these blueprints has been the lack of youth mainstreaming and youth-centred policy flavour. The major cause of this has been the non– participation and non-engagement of the youth in the formulation of these blueprints.Without a youth-centred approach to national economic policy formulation, the nation risks the possibility of creating a cycle of inter-generational poverty spurred on by the construction of youthful people without any savings,investments and economics safety nets to pass onto the next generation. Such a situation will see economic growth stagnate or stifle as 65% of the population will fail to contribute vehemently to the economic health of the nation. An economically unproductive, unemployed and aggrieved major demographic group is a major threat to peace and stability in the country. As it stands, Section 738 of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) has cited an insignificant rate of youth economic participation for the year 2020 of 3.3%. The number of youth who accessed empowerment opportunities in all sectors of the economy was 16 000 in 2020.The forecast of the framework predicts a potentially exponential increase in youth economic participation in decision making and development processes from 3.3% in 2020 to 25% by 2025. It is predicted that the number of youths that are going to access empowerment opportunities will increase from 16 000 in 2020 to 200 000 by 2025. As much as the strategy is sprinkled with a major positive forecast for youth economic wellbeing, the major misgiving of the NDS is that the path to the attainment of these positive gains for the youth is not clear.The economic trajectories and pathways for youth economic empowerment remain murky mainly due to the non – participation of the youth in the crafting of these economic blueprints.The continued presence of weak youth economic inclusion has the potential to create negative socio-economic indicators.If the major demographic group of a country continues to be unemployed and does not have access to gainful employment, this can automatically lead to a domino effect of negative socio-economic results. With a critical mass of unemployed youth, macro tax revenues will drop. With a drop in macro tax revenues, funding for economic investment and social safety nets will also drop. As a result, critical macroeconomic indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will drop significantly for consistent periods and income equality indicators will become more skewed.
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Source: Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development