Youth Keystone to Zimbabwe’s Sustainable Development



06 April 2018, Harare – some 230 Zimbabwe’s accomplished youth turned out yesterday evening to attend the 2018 Global Shapers Youth Awards held at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, with the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Bishow Parajuli, a leading advocate of youth empowerment, as the guest of honour.

Extraordinary young Zimbabweans under the age of 35 were recognized, acknowledged and celebrated for their positive achievements and impactful contributions to their communities and the country in the areas of agriculture, ICT, education, construction, retail, media, activism and sports among others.

“Zimbabwe is a nation of young people and it makes the case for being its most vibrant, most innovative and more exciting,” said the UN Resident Coordinator in his key note address. “It’s young, resilient professionals and their business acumen have smashed stereotypes and have made their mark on the world.”

Currently, 68% of Zimbabwe’s population are under the age of 35 and the majority of the country’s working population comprises of young people – 4.6 million. However, youth face the highest unemployment rate among all the age groups in the labour force in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Parajuli emphasised the importance of youth engagement in the inclusive growth and sustainable development of the country. He encouraged the Government and business leaders to create a conducive entrepreneurial ecosystem in which young leaders such as the Youth Awards winners can thrive.

“Economic growth and job creation need be pursued through increasing agricultural productivity, green energy generation, promoting tourism and trade facilitation by addressing policy issues such as ownership policies, investment climate, cost of transport and connectivity.”

“This is the time to harness the human capital and youth dividend towards making Zimbabwe a formidable economic, social and political powerhouse,” said Mr. Pararjuli as he reaffirmed the United Nations’ support to assist the nation in its development trajectory.

The United Nations in Zimbabwe works with the Government to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Goals through its five-year strategic framework, the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), which has so far delivered USD 812 million in projects and programmes between 2016-2017, accounting for 62% of Official Development Assistance to the country.

Mr. Parajuli urged the young Global Shapers to become champions of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and to partner with the UN and the Government to achieve the 2030 Agenda in Zimbabwe. “Let us join hands in the fight against social ills of gender based violence, child marriages, corruption and HIV and AIDS and build the resilience of communities against climate change.”

Read the UN Resident Coordinator's keynote address