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Prince Harry backs township youth job creation in S.Africa

Lauding the “resilience” of Africa’s unemployed youth, Prince Harry on Wednesday pledged £8 million to support skills training for South African youngsters facing a daunting, jobless future.

“Africa needs to create 20 million jobs by 2035, and while youth unemployment is a global challenge, it’s particularly a problem here where nearly 57 percent of young people are unemployed,” the prince said.

“Yet I have seen strength, resilience, a sense of hope and empathy that I can only aspire to replicate,” he said.

South Africa’s unemployment hovers at over 27 percent — soaring to over 50 percent among young people.

On the last day of their African tour, the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex visited the Youth Employment Services (YES) centre in the Johannesburg township of Tembisa, touring various entrepreneurial and skills programmes hosted at the hub.

The duke announced Britain would provide £8 million ($9.81 million, nine million euros) towards a “skills for prosperity” programme to facilitate training of young people in “urgently” needed skills, much to the jubilation of the audience.

The crowd — mainly young people from the township — and the prince chanted YES at each other in celebration.

The YES initiative, launched in April 2018, seeks to spur job opportunities for the young through entrepreneurship.

At the YES hub, the royal couple toured facilities where local youth are equipped with financial, literacy and computer skills and a female empowerment programme that produces up to 80,000 compostable sanitary towels per month, which are sold at low prices to the local community.

Prince Harry added that starting adult life without a job could start a cycle of poverty that can be difficult to escape.

“But you guys are producing solutions, and for that, we commend you.”