South Africa’s predominantly youthful population gives it a strong competitive advantage, as developed countries increasingly face the problem of aging citizens.
Play Your Part reporter
Brand South Africa has introduced, for the first time, a platform for young people to take part in the conversation about South Africa’s global competitiveness. The second annual South African Competitiveness Forum is set to be held on 4 and 5 November at the Ernst and Young offices in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Young people have a critical role to lay in making South Africa an internationally competitive country. Africa’s predominantly youthful population gives it a strong competitive advantage, as developed countries increasingly face the problem of aging citizens.
The opportunity is for the energy, vibrancy and enthusiasm of young people to be positively channelled towards their own personal development, and the development of South Africa.
This is one of the appeals made by South Africa’s National Development Plan, which aims to address the country’s past and future challenges and sets out a vision for what it should strive to achieve by the year 2030.
Black youth account for two-thirds of unemployed South Africans under 35. Unemployment is highest among those aged 15 to 24, and second highest among 25- to 34-year-olds. Research suggests that if a person fails to find a job by the age of 24, they are likely to never be formally employed.
Youth and innovation workshop
Although the youth make up 41.2% of South Africa’s population, only 6% of them are involved in business or self-employed. The youth and innovation workshop at this year’s South African Competitiveness Forum will focus on current and past youth initiatives and other successful interventions that can be used examples from which to learn. The conversation will examine what we are getting right, and what young people can do to improve the South African nation brand.
In the discussion on youth and with youth, and their contribution to South Africa’s growth and development, the forum will ask how we can be inspired to do things differently to reduce youth unemployment and underdevelopment. It will look at what government, civil society and business can do together to solve these problems.
The 2014 Forum will be held under the theme “Active Citizenship and its role in changing the South African brand reality”. This is a direct call to action to all South Africans to unite to build the country’s competitiveness in the world.
The other forum workshops will discuss competitive cities, foreign direct investment, the labour market, expansion into the rest of Africa and active citizenship.