THE Brics Summit kicked off on Thursday at the East London International Convention Centre, (ICC), where delegates from various businesses and municipalities met for information sharing sessions.
Brics is a political and economic bloc consisting of representatives from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It seeks ways to invest and improve opportunities in the member-countries.
Speaking at the opening of the summit, BCM Executive Mayor Xola Pakati, said the hosting of the summit by the city was an indicator that it’s a credible place for investment.
“The deliberations of this morning did not only capture the essence of our development strategy, but they provided a futuristic basis for urban development policy-making and practice,” Pakati said.
Presentations from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and Brics representatives were on the cards on the cards in the sectoral discussion titled Voices of Young People in Cities Development, Youth Empowerment Programmes and Skills Development. However, the NYDA was unable to make the presentation, with only China contributing to the discussion.
Programme manager of Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) Wang Bo gave the delegates an eye-opening presentation on how they approach involving the youth into their programmes.
“We have taken the time to develop our education system and vocational training,” Bo said.
“We have opportunities for supporting graduates through entrepreneurial training, on-the- job training and internships.” said Bo.
The entrepreneurship programme has in place access to small loans, social insurance, and allowances. The CPAFFC aims to help youth by facilitating and training friendship cities with their programmes.
Delegate Nyameka Boqwana said that hard work was is key in building entrepreneurial spirit.
“China’s development, upliftment and incentive programmes for youth development link skill development to productivity.
“How it translates to youth- owned businesses is that brand power and innovation are drivers of viable products,” Boqwana said.
“The youth should see a business opportunity in everything, starting with simple things such as cleaning public restrooms,” she added.
Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) representative, Lato Mabaso spoke of programmes in youth development and disability.
“We have a high rate of unemployment among the youth, which is a challenge.
“Some don’t have skills, some have not finished matric and there is a challenge in employing them,” she said.
The recently launched Youth Employment Service (YES), the NYDA and the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) are just some of the measures in place to make the youth employable.
City of Tshwane councillor Lesego Makhubela closed off the session, noting the country still has major challenges, with the brain drain in rural areas was another of South Africa’s many challenges.
“We have Cuban medical practitioners that come and work in our rural areas, yet the South African counterparts would rather work in the city,” he said.
He added that our education system “teaches us to become job seekers, it imparts no consciousness to give back to the community or have an entrepreneurial spirit”.