PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday gave young women the carte blanche to seize vast opportunities that have been brought by the Second Republic as he promised to give them loans and open the doors for participation in any sector of the economy.
Inclusive participation leading to development that leaves no one and no place behind has been the centrepiece of the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa and this was on display yesterday as young women, under the banner, “Young Women for Economic Development”, converged in Harare to exhibit their businesses that have bloomed since the dawn of the New Dispensation.
Speaking at the Young Women for ED Business Convention in the capital, the President saluted women for their resilience in the face of the Western-imposed economic sanctions, weather vagaries, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“My administration stands proud of all the women of our great country who continue to push hard to help create a better quality of life for our people.
“We celebrate you as women homemakers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and world changers in your various categories,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Today, we also take note of the milestones made by enterprising women as well as the ingenuity of the young people who are working hard, innovating, and adapting towards reaching their full potential, for the ultimate prosperity of our motherland.
“Your role in our nation’s quest to modernise, industrialise and realise the sustainable growth of our economy is invaluable. Rest assured that the Second Republic will continue to avail broad, inclusive opportunities and support to you all.”
Regardless of setbacks, President Mnangagwa said the country, women in particular, should focus on what is available to develop the country, ever embracing the values “of hard-honest work and patriotism, as well as the importance of praying and interceding for our great country”.
This, he said, must remain the solid foundation upon which we build our beloved Zimbabwe, brick-by-brick, stone upon stone.
The Young Women for ED that was formed last year has spread across the country and yesterday its delegates filled the Harare Sports Centre during a ceremony marked by pomp and fanfare.
The occasion was graced by Vice President Chiwenga, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza, Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry, Senate president Mable Chinomona, senior Government officials and captains of industry.
The President, who promised to review upwards allocations to the Empowerment Bank to ensure that more women participate in the development of the country, said young women should draw inspiration from the country’s heroines such as Mbuya Nehanda.
“Throughout the history of our great country, women have always played critical roles in the socio-economic and political architecture of our motherland, albeit in varying forms.
“The fact that this historic convention is being held on the eve of April during which we commemorate independence and freedom, must serve as a reminder that girls, young women, and mothers were equally in the forefront of bringing about the independence, freedom and democracy we enjoy to this day.
“Hence, I challenge you the Young Women for Economic Development and indeed the youth of our country in general, to draw inspiration from that rich heritage.
“It is incumbent upon you in this generation, to make selfless sacrifices and to work harder towards improving the standard and quality of life of our families, communities and the nation as a whole. Back then, during the days of the protracted liberation struggle, we had to use guns to achieve our national objective and vision for a free Zimbabwe. Now, you as the current generation merely have to deploy your creativity, ingenuity, skills, focus and hard work as well as your vote, of course, to realise the Zimbabwe we all want.”
President Mnangagwa said there is an intricate link between women, youth and sustainable economic development, hence the importance of their inclusion.
“Young people must therefore identify business opportunities towards sustainable and inclusive development across all sectors of the economy.
“In agriculture, women constitute the backbone of the sector. I challenge our young farmers, particularly women, to vigorously explore the production of high-value export crops.
“In this regard, our agriculture ministry and institutions such as ZimTrade are directed to deliberately draw up programmes to assist.”
“More young women must also set up businesses along the agro-value chain and food industries sub-sectors. My Government stands ready to bolster your efforts by facilitating access to the requisite means of production.
“Similarly, the Second Republic under my watch is unwavering in its commitment to enable the active participation of women across all sectors of the economy.
“To date, programmes are ongoing towards developing skilled, innovative, artisanal and engineering-orientated young people who must vault our country’s modernisation and industrialisation agenda.
“The resuscitation of the apprenticeship programme together with the modernisation of our Vocational Training Centres will see the training of more technicians and artisans. Young women in both rural and urban areas will not be left behind in these initiatives.”
President Mnangagwa said no sector is a no-go area for women, who constitute the biggest population in the country.
“Industrialists and Government stakeholders are exhorted to support the establishment of businesses in the manufacturing sector by more young women and the youth in general. The innovation hubs, incubation centres and industrial parks in our institutions of higher learning remain available for the talented and entrepreneurial young people to develop their ideas into concrete goods and products.
“Meanwhile, I want to commend women for breaking the glass ceiling with regards to previously male-dominated sectors. In this respect, the ongoing modernisation and construction of key national infrastructure, along with the boom in housing construction, also present an array of business opportunities for women and youths in the construction industry.
“Following a meeting, I held with a group of young women in the construction sector, a programme is being developed to ensure that young women in the construction industry receive appropriate mentorship from big construction companies which have been awarded tenders.
“I, therefore call upon you as women and the youth, to establish companies and earn your share in the design, construction, repair, and maintenance of our national infrastructure,” the President said.
In the development of Zimbabwe, he said, there is no place for the PhD (pull him/her down) syndrome, violence or any form of negativism.
The convention was held under the theme, “Investing in Enterprises led by Young Women towards Vision 2030’’.