By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ABOUT K3 million has been invested in an initiative to promote greater economic inclusion for disadvantaged young people in the communities by Standard Chartered Bank.
The initiative dubbed, Futuremakers ‘Youth to Work’ programme is also meant to tackle inequality.
Social and economic inequality limits individuals and collective potential, stifling growth and creating disharmony, says Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Chief Executive Officer, Herman Kasekende.
He said this significantly affected disadvantaged young people who could not access the skills and opportunities needed to close the income gap.
Mr Kasekende was speaking at the launch of the Futuremakers by Standard Chartered Youth to Work programme – Cohort 2 in Lusaka yesterday.
He noted that globally, more than 200 million young people were unemployed but continued to live in poverty due to low income.
“Our desire is to provide transformative opportunities that enable young people to build their own bright futures and this drives our ambition to raise US$50 million between 2019 and 2023 to empower the next generation to learn, earn and grown under Futuremakers global initiative,” Mr Kasekende said.
He pointed out that everyone should have access to opportunities which would help them reach their full potential.
“Through the support of the Standard Chartered Foundation, which is the lead funding and delivery partner of the Futuremakers initiative, we are investing close to K3 million in this year’s programme alone,” Mr Kasekende said.
Earlier, Challenges Group Zambia Country Manager, Chanda Chibuta, said the ‘Youth to Work’ programme equipped young people with skills and opportunities to create economic and employment changes across the economy.
Ms Chanda said in the just ended Zambia programme, about 40 Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and 45 young people participated, recording a successful 75 per cent employment rate.
“As part of the programme, SMEs will receive business development support through masterclass sessions and training opportunities delivered by skilled, experts from various industries,” she said.
At the same function, Challenges Worldwide Director, Neil Fleming, said this was an important time to safeguard the future of small businesses which was the lifeblood of economies all over the world.
Mr Fleming stressed that there had never been a more critical time to show the power of young people and the role they could play in building economies.
In the wake of Covid-19, he said, the programme would act as a beacon of hope and a practical demonstration of how to move forward.
“We have worked hard with the global and Zambian Standard Chartered Bank teams on implementing a new approach to this job crisis, moving to a demand driven approach equipping young people with entrepreneurial skills.
“Our youth to work programme is about building a business ecosystem where enterprises and talented young people can thrive, and where innovation and prosperity can grow in Zambia and further afield across the African continent,” Mr Fleming said.