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As we approach the end of the 2022 matric exams, we are again reminded of the shocking state of unemployment most of these young people, unbeknownst to them, will unfortunately be facing.

In 2019, we were presented with a matric pass rate of 77%, however, this was not an accurate representation. The numbers above should be seen in context. In 2017, a total of 1 052 080 learners were enrolled in grade 10, yet only 409 906 learners eventually passed matric in 2019. This was pass rate of only 39%.

We don’t see a strong enough effort from Government and the Private sector, to create opportunities for young people who currently find themselves within the informal economy. Young people who have started informal businesses, or who are working under precarious working conditions with no social protection, so as to earn an income for them, their families and their peers.

What is the future for our beloved young people and our communities looking like, if we as informal economy leaders continue to stand by the side, and say this is Government’s problem to solve?

Here are the facts. In South Africa economic growth has slowed year on year since 2011.

Unemployment rate in South Africa is currently standing at 34% with Youth unemployment higher than the national average of unemployment, standing at 45%. Unemployment for Youth aged 15-24 is highest standing at 61.4%!

Realising that Government cannot do this alone, and that we too, have to take Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility for our youth; leaders in the informal economy have met, and a decision was made to launch the IEDF Youth Chamber.

This structure, led by young people, is a collaboration between youth support organisations in Government, the Formal sector as well as the Informal Economy across South Africa.

The involvement of today’s youth in development programmes, especially in its decision-making and implementation, is critical to creating sustainable opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for young people within the South African economy.

The launch of the IEDF Youth Chamber presents and avenue through which young people can make their voices heard, recognize the power that they have and also receive support from the Informal economy, Government and Formal sector leaders.

To build a prosperous future South Africa, we must build prosperous young people, today.

Mr. David Venter

Chairperson of the Informal Economy Development Forum