By Byron Mutingwende
The growing rate informalistion of jobs and unemployment has a negative impact on the economy, a senior United Nations official has said. Speaking at the occasion to launch the Population Census Thematic Reports at Holiday Inn Hotel in Harare Tuesday, Yu Yu, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Zimbabwe Deputy Representative said bemoaned the rising unemployment and informalisation of jobs.
“The Labour Force Characteristics report indicates that paid employee has dropped from 44% in 1992 to 30% in 2012 and own account worker doubled from 24% in 1992 to 50% in 2012. This clearly shows an informalisation of jobs, which is a serious concern in the economy.
“Moreover, the youth unemployment rate at national level stands at 25%, which is more than double of the national average. This poses a critical policy challenge for the government of Zimbabwe to create job opportunities for the population, especially the youth,” Yu said.
Despite the above, Zimbabwe is economically benefitting from the youth bulge, as the country is entering a phase where dependency ratio, is reduced, leading towards a demographic dividend.
The more the workforce and the less the dependents, means more economic production, more income and higher savings, enabling capital investment at individual and family level.
“That is a powerful engine for driving economic growth as witnessed in other countries. But all of these can only take place if there is investment in health, education and employability of the youths, especially young girls, accompanied by a favourable job market,” Yu said.
In Zimbabwe, unemployment is higher in urban areas than rural areas for the youths although the urban population enjoys better social and economic indicators than their rural counterparts.
The analysis of the population thematic report paints a worrisome trend for the urban poor. In the southern belt of Harare there is s high population in places such as Hopley and Hatfield more than that of a rural district, the teen fertility is strikingly high and so is the percentage of child marriage.
Such statistics clearly show the importance of the thematic reports to issues concerning national development. It also reveals the vulnerability of the population that needs to be taken care of towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals whose vision is “leaving no one behind.”
In her analysis of results from the children thematic area, Joyce Malaba said that children in Zimbabwe continue to face vulnerabilities. Due to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, many children find themselves orphaned at an early age.
“Children also faced vulnerability associated with the decade-long economic recession, 2000 to 2008. Developments in the agricultural sector, visa-vee the land reform programme combined with climatic changes have resulted in children being caught up in the food insecurity and mobility vulnerability. Children living with disability have found themselves experiencing double vulnerability, in the sense that they are vulnerable to all other dimensions on-going in the economy, just like all other children, and they have to do so within their vulnerable disability context,” Malaba said.
A development consultant, Dr. Jesimen Chipika, said that the issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women
Chipika commended Zimbabwe for ratifying and domesticating the many international and regional treaties, conventions, protocols and declarations on gender equality and women empowerment.
“Positive outcomes in this area include: increased gender mainstreaming in public policies; the closure of gender gaps in some instances the attainment of gender parity, for example, the primary school enrolment and basic literacy; increased participation of women in politics and decision making; and reduction in HIV and AIDS infection rates particularly among women. However, in reality gender sensitive legislation is co-existing with widespread gender inequalities,” Chipika said.