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Kirsty Coventry warns youths against drug abuse

THE Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry has admonished youths to stop abusing drugs.

In a statement marking Africa Youth Day, Coventry said the scourge of drug and alcohol abuse had seen youths lose their lives while many more suffer mental health challenges.

“As we celebrate this important day, I call upon young people of all walks of life to stay away from abusing and misusing drugs and alcohol.

“The scourge of drug and alcohol abuse has resulted in young people losing lives, committing crimes and suffering from numerous diseases including mental health challenges.

“It is time to rebuild our nation and young people are a critical building block as we aim at achieving an upper middle class economy by 2030,” she said.

Crystal meth use is adding to a cocktail of woes accompanying the coronavirus pandemic — economic hardship, unemployment, poverty and desperation. Psychiatrists say the drug is relatively new in Zimbabwe, and as it costs only US$3 a sachet, it is dangerously affordable.

Meanwhile, Coventry has reiterated government’s commitment to fulfilling the African Union’s Agenda 2063 on creating direct opportunities for one million young Africans in the areas of education, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement.

In a statement, she noted that at the very core
of the initiative are the principles of pan-Africanism, strategic partnerships and Africa-centric innovation and solutions, co-created and driven by Africa’s youth, towards creating sustainable structures.

“Young people are at the very heart of Africa’s development agenda. With over 75% of Africa’s 1.2 billion inhabitants being under the age of 35, and 453 million Africans aged 15-35 years, it goes without saying that the development outcomes of Africa’s young people have a significant and lasting effect on the continent’s trajectory,” said Coventry.

Coventry said the Government of Zimbabwe recognises this centrality of youth to achieving aspirations of its people driven vision 2030– to become an upper middle class economy by the year 2030.

“To enable youth participation in all spheres of the economy, it is paramount that the legislative environment in which young people operate is conducive and mechanisms are in place to protect young people from shock and eventualities that can overwhelm them.

“It is to this end that at the behest of the global pandemic the Ministry secured relief funds for youth in enterprise, sports and arts. While the Empowerbank is continually innovating for youth, the Ministry is also working closely with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for stimulant financial initiatives for youth employment and enterprenuership.

“The establishment of the Youth Employment Tax Initiative and Capital Venture Fund attest to the commitment Government has to ensure young people are provided with opportunities for economic growth and participation,” she noted.

The 1st of November was proclaimed as “African Youth Day (AYD)”, a day set aside every year to promote the increased recognition of youth as key agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development in all areas of African Society.

More than 75% of Africa’s population is below the age of 35, hence government’s development agenda is focused on youth empowerment.

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