In a recent article, Busisiwe Mavuso, CEO of Business Leadership SA, highlights the critical issue of youth unemployment in South Africa and emphasizes the need for collaboration between business and government to address this pressing challenge. Mavuso points out that while businesses face various economic challenges, youth unemployment poses the most significant risk to social stability.
With two-thirds of the youth population unemployed, Mavuso argues that the responsibility cannot solely rest on the government. Financial constraints and a trust gap between the government and business make it imperative for both sectors to work together. According to the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, 62% of respondents trust business over the government.
While the government has policy-making power, businesses hold the trust and resources necessary to unlock the country’s economic potential. Mavuso acknowledges successful public-private partnerships in crucial areas like the Covid-19 vaccination drive, energy, logistics, and crime. She emphasizes the need to scale up and accelerate initiatives to generate earning opportunities for the youth.
Mavuso, as the national pathway manager in the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, outlines a five-point plan to create one million livelihood opportunities for economically excluded youth by the end of 2026. This plan involves enhanced collaboration between business and government through public employment programs, business-led activities, and inclusive hiring.
The article stresses the importance of businesses viewing inclusive hiring not just as a corporate social initiative but as a critical component in addressing youth unemployment. Additionally, Mavuso emphasizes the need for an enabling policy environment at the macroeconomic level to facilitate economic growth and job creation.
The article concludes by highlighting the urgency of addressing dysfunctional network industries, such as energy, transport, and water, as they are essential for the effective functioning of the economy. Operation Vulindlela, a collaborative initiative between business, labor, and the government, is cited as a positive example, but Mavuso acknowledges that more work is needed to create the necessary infrastructure and policy environment for sustained economic growth.
In summary, Mavuso’s article calls for a united effort between business and government to tackle youth unemployment in South Africa, emphasizing the role of trust, resources, and inclusive policies in creating meaningful opportunities for the country’s youth.
Source: Business Day: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2023-10-23-busisiwe-mavuso-business-has-most-to-lose-if-youth-unemployment-is-not-addressed/