Zambia has a target of 7% economic growth. But this is being compromised by high levels of unemployment. As a result a lot of people have decided to join the informal sector in order to make ends meet.
The issue of unemployment has become a hot topic for debate. This is so because a high percentage of the population in the southern Africa nation of about 12 million people is unemployed. The Ministry of Labour is trying very hard to create employment. But the issue of policy framework formulation and implementation on creating more jobs for Zambians has faced a lot of hurdles.
One of the contributing factors to high unemployment levels is that some companies closed down after being privatized a few years ago. Most of the people who lost their jobs during this privatization process joined the informal sector by starting up small businesses.
CHALLENGES AND RISKS
Sakala Lyson, stays in Lusaka the capital of Zambia and every morning goes to the city market which is the main market in Lusaka. Here he has a business whereby he transports people’s goods from one point to another using a wheel barrow also known as a ZAMCAB. On a good day he makes approximately 20USD but when business is not good he takes home about 6USD only. This helps him to pay rent for his modest house, pay school fees for his two children and feed the family.
Though he is able to make a decent living, Sakala Lyson faces many challenges. For instance he does not have health insurance although his job is labour intensive and poses some health risks. Carrying heavy loads puts some strain on his back. He works in a very competitive and dangerous environment.
SENSE OF DESPERATION
According to Mr Steven Chamo, the Director of operations at Organisation for Zambian Youth Entrepreneurs, says the high unemployment levels have created a feeling of despair especially among the youth. His organization aims at bridging the gap existing between the youth who are doing small businesses and government through dialogue.They also conduct entrepreneurial trainings for the youth.
Although the government of Zambia is doing everything possible to create more jobs for people like John Sakala, Mr Chamo thinks that it should do more because a lot of people are suffering.