Investing in Human Capital: The National Youth Development Agency Investment Roundtable

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Deputy President Paul Mashatile inaugurated the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Investment Roundtable in Johannesburg. The event was organized with the theme “Unlocking investments for human capital for an inclusive economy,” inspired by Youth Month’s theme, “Accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future.”

Importance of Investing in Youth

Investing in youth is essential for a prosperous and sustainable future in the increasingly competitive global economy. To unlock the full potential of young people, businesses, government, and civil society must pool their knowledge and resources, creating a sustainable and equitable economy. Through various investment channels, the NYDA Investment Roundtable has successfully brought together key stakeholders to commit to youth development.

Goals of the Roundtable

The roundtable’s primary objectives include presenting market accessibility pathways through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), advancing the growth and development of small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) through financial and non-financial support, increasing capital investment towards youth development programs, and identifying potential market linkages between young people and potential investors.

These objectives are crucial for the foundation of the National Development Plan (NDP), a strategy emphasizing inclusive growth by accelerating young people’s inclusion in employment and enterprise development opportunities. The NDP calls for improvements in education and skill development, strengthening competition laws, increasing private-sector participation in public-dominated industries, and supporting labor-intensive sectors.

Challenges Faced by South Africa

South Africa faces significant challenges such as an ongoing energy crisis, high unemployment rates, dwindling investor confidence, and slow economic growth. The youth unemployment rate reached 62.1% in the first quarter of 2023, emphasizing the need for immediate and unwavering attention to address the crisis.

Youth Taking the Lead

Young people must take the lead in driving economic growth and employment. The government has created an enabling environment to support youth in becoming successful entrepreneurs, addressing the skills mismatch between the economy’s needs and young people’s skills.

Investing in Human Capital Growth

Investing in human capital growth and providing young people with marketable skills will ensure that the nation remains competitive in the global landscape. Initiatives should provide work experience, support, finance, and market opportunities for young entrepreneurs, while ensuring that grants are connected to long-term economic outcomes.

NYDA Grant Programme

The NYDA Grant Programme for the 2022/23 fiscal year achieved impressive results, funding 2,320 youth and youth-owned enterprises, providing non-financial development interventions to 34,209, and creating and sustaining 6,796 jobs.

Agricultural Summer School

The NYDA and the University of Sao Paulo organized an Agricultural Summer School called “Tropical Bio-based Production Systems,” giving an overview of Brazilian agriculture, forestry, and livestock farming. The NYDA will fund four youths to attend the program in Brazil, with the expectation that they will bring the skills they acquire back to enrich South Africa.

Presidential Youth Employment Intervention

South Africa is also working towards economic transformation for young people through the 2020 Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI), aiming to create 2 million jobs for young people over a decade by linking them to new and existing opportunities.

Government and private sectors must work together to implement policies and transform South Africa’s economic landscape for the benefit of young people and the nation as a whole. The NYDA Investment Roundtable serves as an essential platform to explore investment opportunities and create a more equitable society for future generations.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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