BULUWAYO- The annual youth mining conference took off amidst calls from civil society leaders to youths to take active roles in influencing policy in natural resources governance issues.
By Donald Nyarota
Organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in conjunction with Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Youth Symposium on mining, is a precursor to the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI).
Janet Zhou, ZIMCODD executive director, said the platform was important as it enables youths to reflect on critical economic governance issues that directly affects them.
Zhou said youths have an obligation to actively participate in economic governance issues as they bear the brunt of ills of mismanagement of the national purse.
Zhou said to ensure sustainability mining should be guided by the African Mining Vision (AMV) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which encompasses sustainability of development models.
“In line of the government blueprint the Vison 2030, there is a need to create spaces to ensure that youths are not left behind, to come up with actions plans to influence social and economic change in a sustainable manner where resources are channeled in priority areas.
“We have this engagement to encourage the youth to actively participate in economic governance issues because we do not want young people who are just folding their hands as their minerals are being siphoned, young should stand up against illicit financial flows and speak to issues of sustainable development.
“Public Finance Management, tax Justice and natural Resources Governance are developmental matters that affect everyone including young people and that is why on a yearly basis we convene the Youth Symposium so that we interrogate these issues and come up with action plans to influence national policies.
“‘This provides a space and time to rethink tax justice discourse that integrates youths to build a sustained approach to natural governance and leverages on data and ICT to challenge the status quo and bring critical thoughts on national building taking advantage of the demographic structure of the country,” said Zhou.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association economic governance officer Mukasiri Sibanda said youths should embrace Information Communication Technology (ICT) and use data driven advocacy for inclusion in the development discourse.
Sibanda said youth should actively engage through social media and use available data which has revolutionalised the analysis and critique of government resource expenditure.
“Youths should actively use data when using social media, in an era of an avalanche of information there is a poverty of attention especially from the youth.
“There is a need for the youth to establish a vibrant digital footprint through social media and interrogate critical issues like the national budget statement, there should be analysis of the youth component to shape their agenda
“With this wealth of information and data youths can use it to interrogate and assess how revenue is used, looking at how government expenditure enhances the progressive realization of socio economic rights,” said Mukasiri.