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By Godfrey Olukya   2-102012

Youths in Botswana have appealed to their government to come up with policies that will lead to their getting employment.

They say that they study up to universities and get degrees but end up on the streets looking for jobs. They add that unless something is done, their unemployment might turn the country into chaos in future because they may get involved in illegal activities in order to survive.

More than 250 000 young people between the age of 15 and 29 are unemployed according to the latest national statistics. Unemployment among the youth has staggered following the 2008 US-induced economic crisis and is feared to increase beyond the 35 percent mark if the labour market does not improve.

One of Botswana unemployed graduate youths, Raymond Kheto said,’ Thousands of us youths who have been to various universities are on the streets looking for jobs. We have moved  to every office in Commerce Park but there are no jobs for us.’

Some members of the opposition in Botswana  attribute the unemployment of youths to  ill-conceived and populist policies of President Ian Khama’s socialist government.

However, there are youths who have complained about  indebted elderly people who are not willing to leave  jobs for the young ones to take over.

‘There are many elderly people holding jobs. Some are as old as 60 yrs and others 70 yrs old but they can not leave the jobs because they are indebted and use part of their salaries to repay the debts.’ said Irene Motse another unemployed youth who graduated two years ago.

One of the scholars in  Botswana university, Gaotlhobogwe Motlaleng blames government for it’s  indecisiveness in matching skills requirement to the available jobs in the market. He said that most youths are trained for white collar jobs which are scarce in the labor market.

He said “There is no demand for white collar jobs. They are saturated. Something must be done so that youths study practical subjects that can lead to their getting employed.’Botswana government has reportedly been struggling with how to increase youth employment given the reluctance of the private sector to hire. President Khama recently launched the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) aimed at providing for expanded internship and training opportunities in the private and public sector.

Government spokesman, Dr. Jeff Ramsay said YES is expected to attract hundreds of unemployed young people and build upon the existing internship programme and the citizen.

 

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