Youth Day Speech: Indeed An Ambitious Youth Policy Exists!

By Nkendem FORBINAKE, Cameroon Tribune, 11-02-2014
ct120214.jpgMany people listening to the President of the Republic Monday night were certainly startled by the revelations about the creation of some 225 000 jobs during the 2013 calendar year.
The dire situation of the job market possibly explains this doubt; but the stark reality is that these jobs were actually available for the taking. This is one of the inconveniences of statistics. Facts and figures which are very often difficult to depict a situation perceived with ordinary eyes. So, if we persist on seeing youth unemployment only strictly from the armies of straying youths on our streets and from school statistics about the huge number of graduates turned out of the school system each year and who do not access jobs immediately, we miss the point and the real ground situation. There is more to the problem than meets our naked eyes in appraising the unemployment problem.

The job market demands are certainly unwieldy to the extent that the very ambitious and robust government policies addressing all the problems of the youth sector have literally been eclipsed even with government resilience to ensure that the youth do not drown in the immensity of the problems they are facing. The first act in this new government posture to address youth problems more proactively came with the creation of the Ministry of Youth Affairs in the government reorganization of December 2004. That political decision came to reinforce existing policies in other ministerial departments such as the splitting of the ministries responsible for training into three distinct units: the Ministry of Higher Education, that of Secondary Education and that of Basic Education. Moreover, the creation of the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training in the same government reorganization was a clear manifestation of the political will to take youth problems and more specifically, youth employment, as a top government priority.
In the past nine years of the existence of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, a number of face-lifting initiatives have been taken to either address youth unemployment frontally or, at least, to cushion its devastating effects. The youth milieu is today familiar with a new vocabulary. These days we often hear of PAJER-U, PIASSI or PIFMAC. These are governmental initiatives which variously are aimed at providing financing for income-generating projects proposed by the youth, offering training possibilities or accompanying youths in any endeavours that can help improve their condition.  The projects may not be working at the desired speed and condition due largely to poor governance and corruption; but the government takes credit for creating them. In recent acts and deeds, the government has also strengthened the presence of the youths on the worksites of national endeavour through the setting up of the National Civic Service Agency for Participation in Development.  Very recently, the government revamped the organizational chart of the Ministry of Youth Affairs to include Multi-functional Centres for Youths at all the sub-divisional headquarters. >>>


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