The Youth of Zambia, Inheriting Uncertainty or Opportunity?

The Youth of Zambia, Inheriting Uncertainty or Opportunity?

The Youth of Zambia, Inheriting Uncertainty or Opportunity?
The Youth of Zambia, Inheriting Uncertainty or Opportunity?

Written by Lawrence Nacidze, B.A Economics with business administration, A research fellow at Impact Center for Policy and Research.

In Zambia, a nation’s pulse is measured by the rhythm of its youth. They stand at a crossroads between uncertainty and opportunity. The land beneath their feet, a symbol of potential, is mired in policies that often fail to address their needs. Zambia’s youth, vibrant and eager, are the backbone of tomorrow’s society. But the land, their most valuable asset, is entangled in a web of outdated policies and practices. The National Lands Policy of 2021 promised change. It pledged to lower the contractual age for land ownership to 18. It aimed to empower the youth with the soil they need to sow seeds of innovation. Yet, the question lingers: Are these policies enough to turn the tide?

The statistics are telling. Approximately 26.7% of Zambia’s population is between the age of 19 and 34. This demographic dividend could be the engine of growth for the country, but only if these young people have access to the resources they need to thrive. Land is chief among these resources. It’s a source of wealth, a means of production, and a platform for innovation.

However, the reality on the ground is stark. The youth face barriers to land access due to outdated policies, lack of awareness, and bureaucratic hurdles. These challenges are not insurmountable. They are a call to action, a call for policy changes that empower the youth with land rights and encourage their participation in community development.

What do these policy changes look like? They are multifaceted and must address the unique needs of Zambia’s youth. They include simplifying the land acquisition process, providing education on land rights, and revising land quotas to ensure a percentage is allocated specifically for youth development. These changes are not just beneficial; they are necessary for Zambia’s future.

The benefits of empowering youth with land rights are manifold. Secure land tenure can lead to increased agricultural productivity, entrepreneurship, and investment in rural areas. It can also stem the tide of urban migration, as young people find opportunities for growth in their local communities. Moreover, when the youth are involved in land decision-making, they bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the table.

Youth participation in community development is equally important. It fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility. It encourages civic engagement and builds leadership skills. When young people are involved in shaping their communities, they are invested in their success. This participation is a catalyst for change, driving social and economic development from the ground up.

The call for youth land rights is a call for a brighter future. It’s a recognition that the youth are not just tomorrow’s leaders; they are today’s changemakers. They hold the keys to Zambia’s prosperity. It’s time to give them access to the land they need to unlock their potential.

But there is hope. The youth of Zambia are not passive inheritors of uncertainty; they are active seekers of opportunity. They call for engagement, for a voice in the policies that shape their lives. They demand a seat at the table where decisions about land are made. They seek proactive policy-making that recognizes their role as custodians of the land and architects of the future.

The call for reform is clear. Policies must be streamlined to provide the youth with clear pathways to land ownership. Education on land rights must be enhanced. Support for youth-led agricultural and entrepreneurial ventures must be bolstered. The government’s role is pivotal, but the youth must also rise to the challenge. They must organize, educate, and advocate for their rights.

This is not just about securing land; it’s about securing a legacy. It’s about transforming uncertainty into a landscape of opportunity. The youth of Zambia stand ready. Ready to till the land, ready to nurture growth, and ready to harvest the fruits of their labor. The question remains: Will the policies of today support them, or will they be left to inherit the wind?

The answer lies in action. It lies in the courage to embrace change and the wisdom to forge a new path. The youth of Zambia are not the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today. And the land they seek is not just a commodity; it’s the canvas on which they will paint their future.

The path to development in Zambia is paved with the aspirations of its youth. Land rights are the foundation of this path. By advocating for policy changes that support youth access to land and participation in community development, we are not just investing in individuals; we are investing in the nation. Let’s unlock the potential of Zambia’s youth and, in doing so, promote development that is inclusive, sustainable, and forward looking.

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