Why leaders should embrace the ‘Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum’ (MTLF)

Sunday September 22 2019

Education minister Prof Joyce Ndalichako

Education minister Prof Joyce Ndalichako pledges to organise national debate on the myriad of challenges facing the education sector as stakeholders increasingly want review of the curriculum to match the modern demand of manpower and self employment among the millions of college graduates. 

The fifth edition of the ‘Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum’ (MTLF) was held in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, themed ‘Empowering the Youth with Relevant Knowledge and Skills.’

A brainchild of the Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL), the Forum is a premier public debate platform for stakeholders from socio-economic and other sectors to discuss key national development issues.

Forum participants include – but are not limited to – principal government leaders, policy-makers, members of diplomatic corps, chief executive/operating officers of different organizations/institutions, researchers, higher-learning students, as well as erudite folk who are deeply imbued with the transformative spirit to bring about positive changes every which way.

Formally launched in Dar es Salaam on June 27, 2018 by Mr Francis Nanai, the managing director of Mwananchi Communications – the country’s leading private sector player in the print and electronic mass media stakes – the Leadership Forum “seeks to leverage on its global, continental, regional and local strengths to provide a platform to spotlight issues affecting Tanzanians.”

After four forums under the MCL belt beginning in mid-2018 – an average of a Forum every three months, all with different themes – the theme/subject-matter of the fifth Forum focused on education and professional skills for Tanzania’s teeming youths.

With half of Tanzanian’s 55 million-plus population under 15 years – and a rapidly growing population – Tanzania must find ways and means of easing its large and growing youth cohort into a jobs market that currently offers too few prospects.

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Three-quarters of youth employment is in agriculture – and much of it is informal, highlighting youths’ vulnerability within the domestic labour market. But, recent economic growth in general, and in jobs opportunities in particular, has been driven by emerging or expanding sectors such as specialized/professional services, IT, construction, transport and storage, hospitality and other services.

Employment in some of these sectors calls for an educated and skilled workforce. Giving our youths the ‘tools’ needed to access and retain these jobs is key to securing their livelihoods while enhancing Tanzania’s sustainable socio-economic development.

Kudos to organisers, sponsors and participants...

Hence, the 5th Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum squarely hit the nail on the head by organizing and focusing on ‘empowering the youth with relevant knowledge and skills.’ Most hopefully, these will enable them not only to fend for themselves in an increasingly challenging global environment, but to also help lift the nation out of the poverty and other excruciating maladies that continue to plague it.

The fifth Leadership Forum in the functional series was jointly organised by MCL and the Tanzania ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Unesco, Independent Television (ITV) and Radio-One of the IPP Media Ltd.

It was generously sponsored by USAID’s Feed the Future, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Human Development Innovation Fund, NMB Bank, MCB Bank, KCB Bank, UBA Bank and Twaweza.

We have nothing but praise for the organisers, the sponsors, the participants and all other institutions and functionaries who routinely make Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forums such a roaring success: a virtual godsend.

We also congratulate MCL for their specialized, functional platform – and press them to continue with the good work well into the future.