With South Africa grappling rising unemployment rates, South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor Lesetja Kganyago has urged the country’s youth to invest in education to be able to compete in the world.
The Governor made the remarks while addressing a group of learners at the announcement of the 2019 Monetary Policy Committee Schools Competition winners at the SARB.
Unemployment, he said, is a crisis that needs to be urgently addressed.
“This is a challenge we urgently have to address. We have to put our minds together and find sustainable ways to integrate youth into the economy. I grew up in a rural area, and I can say that many kids in these areas who have succeeded in their careers shared one common characteristic. It is not because they were born into rich families. Their common characteristic is that they took advantage of opportunities offered to earn an education,” he said.
A nation that does not invest in education of its young people will not compete in the future, he warned.
“…Nations today compete on the basis of one asset, and that asset is in the head of its young people (sic). If you young people don’t take advantage of opportunities offered by education, you will never be able to compete with your peers,” Kganyago added.
Also speaking at the event, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga praised the SARB for hosting the competition, saying it was critical to encouraging learners to pursue studies in commerce.
“It helps our young people to free their potential, ignite within them the will and desire to succeed. These are qualities of successful people,” she said.
Learners from Midrand High School — Naledi Moabelo, Vhuthu Makwarela, Mohau Motshane and Wandile Yende — were crowned this year’s winners. They each received R12 000 cash and an SARB bursary. The school will receive a R25 000 cash prize.
Speaking after the event, an excited Moabelo said they entered the competition to explore their love for economics.
“We want to see a better economy and show the whole world that Africa is booming with bright ideas from young minds.”
She said the competition showed that young people were not waiting for the next man to solve problems and that they are taking matters into their own hands, finding African solutions.
Asked if they expected to win, the teenagers were emphatic.
“To be honest, we knew we had it in the bag because of our hard work,” said Motshane, adding that they had prepared well over several months. “Over these months, we genuinely learned team work. We’ve fallen in love with economics and realised each other’s strengths.”