The Tanzania Youth Forum is an annual platform established in 2022 with the main objective of creating sustainable coordination mechanism between the government and youth through policy and legal frameworks that facilitate an enabling environment for youth inclusion and participation in pioneering the youth agenda in economic, social, political and leadership development sectors. This year UNA Tanzania was among the steering committee which included more than 32 CSOs. The 2023 forum took place on the 3rd and 4th of August at the Jakaya Kikwete Convention Centre in Dodoma with the theme ‘Youth Participation in Leadership and Governance for Economic Development’, stressing on the significance of youths’ involvement in decision making and their economic growth. The 2023 forum mobilized more than 500 participants including government representatives, development partners, youth led/youth focused CSOs, inspirational youth leaders, youths in business, representatives from youth political wings, youths interested in international development issues and individual youth between the ages of 15 – 35 from all over Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. UNA Tanzania moderated a panel discussion on the first day and led a break away session on the second day focusing on the topic ‘Youth Inclusion in Economic Opportunities’.
The panel discussion began with a key note address on Youth Participation in Inclusive Economy for Job Creation by Mr. John Ulanga, The Chief Executive Officer at The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation. He provided a brief overview of the job market and the critical skills required by the job market which included technology, emotional intelligence, data analysis, creativity, leadership and critical thinking skills. In his address Mr. Ulanga put much emphasis on the education system that fosters skills. He said, “ we need to establish an education system that will focus on creating young people with skills, determination and self-confidence, not a system that puts higher value on obtaining certificates without critical skills”.
The panelists were from diverse areas each stipulating issues on youth inclusion in inclusive economy in their respective areas; Mr. Jeremia Mwambange from the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) highlighted youth economic empowerment policies. Mr. Aloyce Andrew from The Tanzania Commission of Science and Technology called attention to youth businesses & start-ups and Octavian Kimiro from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spotlighted youth and cross border trade (EAC, SADC & AcFTA).
On the second day of the forum UNA Tanzania led a breakaway session with over 170 youth with the aim of obtaining recommendations on how youth inclusion in economic opportunities can be enhanced.
Among other things youth recommended;
- Improved access of information on the available funds for youth economic development
- Reformation of the education curriculum to cater for entrepreneurship skills, digital skills and the 21st century skills required by the job market
- Less bureaucracy and realistic requirements in accessing finances to support youth initiatives
- Ensuring inclusivity for all youth subgroups without leaving behind those residing in villages.
- Access of finance should go hand in hand with training on entrepreneurship skills, financial literacy and business compliance.