FOREIGN Affairs and East African Co-operation Minister, Dr Augustine Mahiga, has counselled women and youth to equip themselves with alternative skills to cater for the East African Common Market.
He said that the important thing is to create opportunities, whereas in the case of investment, jobs should be created, as well as enabling an effective trade and education environment.
He observed that the focus is to establish solid economic communities which will help improve lives through value addition of crops, trade and investment. “The East African co-operation will help strengthen the integration and stimulate economic growth and thus improve lives of the people,” noted the minister.
The Managing Director of the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS), Mr Francis Kiwanga, the organisers of the forum dubbed ‘Tanzania Youth Caravan 2017,’ said the aim is to enable youth to benefit from the Common Market Protocol by implementing the EAC youth policy’s vision and mission.
“We want to achieve an integrated East African Community, whereby its youth are empowered to fully participate and benefit in all facets of the region’s development,” observed Mr Kiwanga.
He pointed out that the target is to reach over 10,000 women and youth throughout the country, by introducing them to the opportunities and encouraging them to take up the challenge,” he said.
He also noted that the campaign will be rolled out in other parts of the country including Mwanza, Arusha, Morogoro, Singida and Shinyanga. University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Senior Lecturer, Dr Haji Semboja presented research findings of the study on youth employment policy in East Africa and looked on factors such as employability, job creation, entrepreneurship and equal opportunities for all.
“It was discovered that most of the youth in the country lack employability skills, career planning and even the kind of entrepreneurs are not productive. However, the economy of the country is still dependent on agriculture and not other sectors to give enough space for opportunities,” said Dr Semboja.
He observed that most of the existing business opportunities are not sustainable and taxable; they are therefore not very helpful to the economy of the country. On his part, the Country Director of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), the co-organisers of the conference, Mr John Ulanga, stressed the need for producing quality and standard products.
“Seventy per cent of the women doing business in our country borders are conducting informal trade due to lack of awareness on proper modalities,” noted Mr Ulanga.
He highlighted on the need for innovative business undertakings to be able to make transformation and boost the economy.