GABORONE, Botswana, October 2019 – Speaking at the Botho University Inaugural Research Conference held in Gaborone this week, Stanbic Bank Botswana’s Chief Executive, Samuel Minta has encouraged attendees to postulate together on how to optimise the education system to further support youth employability and entrepreneurship. The onus, he noted, is not simply on the public sector, but on a harmony between both the private and public sector, working together to drive positive change in this space.
The new realities of today’s world, Minta noted, require a lifetime education model, which is truly future-oriented. “We need our tertiary institutions to spearhead the charge for educational reforms.” This is wholly possible, he notes, with local tertiary institutions able to play a meaningful role in transforming Botswana into a global knowledge-based economy.
“The data on youth unemployment is becoming increasingly worrisome. In Africa, almost half a billion young people will turn 15 years by 2030 and those between 15 – 24 years will constitute 26% of the population. The need for new jobs will be unprecedented.”
In Botswana, it is estimated that the unemployment rate among the youth is currently over 25% and projected to grow if not addressed. On an annual basis, tertiary institutions in the country graduate over 20,000 students. Out of this, only about 2,000 are absorbed by the formal sector. It is estimated that there are currently over 80,000 unemployed graduates in Botswana. “We are seeing a growing trend of graduates who are unable to leave home to start an independent life. This trend calls for urgency in dealing with issues of youth unemployability, and I believe we are all committed. The question then remains, how are we going to leverage our holistic ecosystems to change this narrative?”
It is essential to look into what knowledge, skills, attitudes and values today’s students need to thrive and shape their world, and productively so. This must be built upon further as we explore how instructional systems develop these effectively. The role of those not directly within the education system must not be ignored, according to Minta, for all play a part in shaping the ecosystem that nurtures the potential of the youth to make a difference and to grow the fortunes of Botswana.
Stanbic Bank Botswana, Minta affirmed, remains wholly committed to a long-term and sustainable partnership with youth groups, youth leaders, educational institutions such as Botho University, Government agencies such as HRDC, BITC, LEA and other like-minded private sector organisations. This is with a view towards supporting the realisation of a single-digit youth unemployment rate in Botswana and remains a core part of the Bank’s social investment in the coming years.