Saulos Chilima
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) – Insufficient financial capital, coupled with unpalatable products market, and inflexible legal framework, are said to be setbacks for youth entrepreneurship growth in Malawi. This was noted at a forum that was held in Lilongwe, under the theme, “Youth entrepreneurship; Creating opportunities to build mother Malawi.” 

 

The forum attracted government officials, UN agencies, business captains, financial institutions and Malawi’s youth.

 

Speaking after gracing the event on Tuesday in the capital Lilongwe, Vice President Saulos Chilima underscored the need for commercial banks to support youth entrepreneurship programs if the nation is to reduce unemployment levels.

 

The VP observed that Malawi’s economy lacks sufficient capital and this is the major barrier towards youth entrepreneurship development which is hovering at 52%, hence the need for commercial banks to come to the youth’s rescue. 

 

Malawi youth unemployment levels are at 23 percent for ages 15-34 and 27.5% for ages 15-24 years, according to a 2013 Malawi Labor Force Survey.

These high unemployment levels have led to youth getting into drug and substance abuse, and prostitution. This also results in rise in crimes, early pregnancies, among other challenges.

 

This is the reason the Standard Bank, in conjunction with the Malawi government, and the UNCEF organized the social-economic forum whose aim is finding lasting solutions towards youth engagement in financial management.

The Vice President challenged young people to embrace financial discipline when support is provided to them so that they may be taken seriously.

 

The VP said there are four focus areas that need to be looked into when handling youth development in Malawi. These are namely, barriers to youth entrepreneurship, platforms for harnessing youth entrepreneurship, the role of banks in youth entrepreneurship, and the discipline to succeed.

“Malawi has a youthful population, and also much untapped energies that are not utilized. Commercial banks including Standard Bank, should invest their money in youths. The young people, should also be responsible when they are supported financially, and to pay loans in good time for their business ventures,” Chilima said.

 

Standard Bank Malawi’s Chief Executive has assured the country’s youths with financial support towards bankable projects that will attract total economic transformation.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Malawi, Mia Seppo told the gathering that the country must have a paradigm shift that focuses less on charity and more on building an effective and sustainable program structure for youth that will create jobs through entrepreneurship.

 

Some estimate Malawi youth dependency ratio at 87.9 percent which implies an enormous burden on the working group.

It is also estimated that 71 percent of employed Malawians live on less than US$1.25 a day. This means that more interventions are necessary, even among the employed, in order to increase incomes, of which entrepreneurship is one.

: