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‘Zim needs to create 140 000 jobs annually’

Zimbabwe needs to create 138 395 jobs annually until 2018 to reduce unemployment challenges, a new report says.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

The country is grappling with unemployment as companies close due to the harsh economic environment. Independent economists say unemployment is at over 80% while the national statistical agency says the figure is at a lowly 11%.

In a paper titled, The nexus between growth, employment and poverty in Zimbabwe: The Economics of employment creation, which looks at the relationship between growth, employment and poverty, the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis Research Unit (Zeparu) said there was need to generate national and sectoral employment targets to be integrated in the relevant policy documents, and especially the macro-economic framework.

It says by so doing, government fully recognises that productive employment and decent work, especially for the youth, has to be achieved through the sustained, determined and concerted efforts of all stakeholders.

“To clear the backlog of unemployment, this paper projects that 138 395 jobs will have to be created annually until 2018,” it said.

Zeparu said even before the decade-long economic crisis (1997-2008) the economy was already failing to absorb the high numbers of people, mainly the youth, joining the labour market, with increasing high levels of education.

The report showed that the country failed to resolve the dual enclave nature of the economy inherited at independence where the burden of creating unemployment lay with the formal sector, which at independence stood at 20% of the labour force, translating to a million people.

The report shows that in 2010 the employment level stood at 1,2 million, a figure just above the 1980 figure, yet the population has doubled.

“Though the level of unemployment at 10,7% of the labour force looks comparatively modest, the challenge is that the bulk of [those] employed are locked in low productivity sectors of the economy, communal agriculture and the informal sector, implying under-employment. Yet international conventions treat decent employment as a universal right,” it said.

Each year Zimbabwe churns out over 10 000 graduates from educational institutions but does not have the job market to absorb them. The graduates are now doing menial jobs to sustain themselves while others go to neighbouring countries to look for jobs.

Job creation has also been included in the country’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) where government is seeking to create 2,2 million jobs by 2018.

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