Land as the game-changer: utilising local community talent and resources in development initiatives
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With the realisation that Africa is home to the largest youth population also ravaged by high levels of unemployment, governments have to develop talent and resource management programmes that address the immediate and future concerns of young people. Zimbabwe has also not been spared from the damaging effects of failed and often prescribed economic policies that have left communities fragmented and worse off as the economically active have been forced out in a bid to seek employment elsewhere. With unemployment currently at around 11 per cent and the youth making up the majority of the unemployed and underemployed, the need for locally driven programmes to assist young men and women cannot be overemphasised. Employment creation is also crucial to addressing social stability as availing work opportunities will ensure that the youth are also part and parcel of the development of their communities. The land reform programme that went into overdrive from 2000, has opened vast opportunities for the previously marginalised rural communities to chart their own development destinies. The shrinking manufacturing sector in most urban centres has a negative effect on the employment rate and this has exacerbated the lack of opportunities in the formal labour market. Such realities have forced the youth in their localities to initiate development projects that create employment for themselves.