North-West Province is predominantly made up of rural villages with many areas still not developed and scarce of economic opportunities and activities. The province is globally known as the mining hub of the country and the largest producer of platinum in the world. Its government is made up of four district municipalities namely: Bojanala Platinum District Municipality, Dr Modiri Molema, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Dr Ruth Segopotse Mompati. Each district municipality is made up of local municipalities as indicated in the table below

Since the advent of democracy, the country’s statistical reports have been released and continue to be released quarterly and annually by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) as part of government’s constitutional obligation to update the nation on its commitment.

The country’s statistical reports continuously reflect on key socio-economic issues and challenges: unemployment, economic development, transformation and growth. Unfortunately, the reports continue to show uncertainty on addressing triple challenges of the country: poverty, unemployment and inequality. The very sad part about the reports is that they continue to indicate majority victims of these challenges of unemployment and economic beneficiation deprivation and growth as being young people. These country’s challenges have been ongoing for over two decades. This is indeed a worrying factor because youth are the very critical and important sector of the nation and a sustainability pillar of the future of the country.

The global developmental changes within various industries have a direct and indirect impact on the economic development, growth and empowerment of young people in our country because South Africa is part of the developing global community. The critical question that exists is that, to what level does our government and its institutions put effort jointly to ensure that the youth; especially the ones from the rural and under-developed local communities; do understand and fully participate in the developmental agenda and not become spectators or pawns of development agenda’s statistical reports compilation and compliance?

The answer to the above mentioned question is the establishment and creation of strategic initiatives, programmes and forums that would create conducive and enabling environment as well as platform(s) for the victims to form part of concerted efforts in finding solutions to these challenges.

The North-West Province; after dispensation; has inherited industrial zones from the previous government of Bophuthatswana, which were very active and impactful on the local economic developmental value chain. These industrial zones were comprised of factories producing various products at different levels locally, provincially and nationally.

With the ongoing of time, most of these factories closed down due to various business and economic reasons. That resulted in too many people being unemployed who possessed various rich skills, expertise, experience and knowledge. The sad part was the failure of the provincial government to revive these factories as part of ensuring that there is sustainability and continuity of economic activities, creation of employment opportunities as well as transfer of knowledge and skills to young people within manufacturing industry.

To date; in the mentioned district and local municipalities; these industrial zones are no longer active with some being white elephants without any business and economic activities.

There is a serious and high need to look and consider the possibilities of designing the best strategies to revive these industrial zones. These industrial zones have great potential to positively impact the economic transformation and developmental agenda of the country that is enshrined in various government strategies, programmes and initiatives such as: IYDS, Industrial Policy Action Plan, National Skills Development Strategy Objectives, Black Industrialists Programme, National Development Plan Vision 2030 (NDP), 4IR, Youth Employment Accord and many more.

The existing factory infrastructures in the mentioned district and local municipalities’ industrial zones need to be revived and used to address the social and economic challenges that confront young people on daily basis.

To make this possible it requires concerted efforts and ideas of various sectors, civil society organizations, academia and business.

The reality is that many young people; since the advent of democracy; have got great business ideas, which can be of positive impact in reviving the industrial zones and address their existing and continuing socio-economic challenges. The challenge they face is lack of information and knowledge as to where to start to get the necessary guidance and support to make sure their business ideas and aspirations are realized.

It is therefore of critical importance that opportunities and platforms that will afford young people opportunities for information access, acquisition of knowledge are created continuously through partnerships with government agencies such as National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) which, has the legal and constitutional obligation to support, develop and change the social and economic life’s of the youth especially in remote, rural and un-developed local communities.

Therefore, their exposure to existing government policies, strategies, partnerships, frameworks and government supporting agencies, including support services of management, education and training, mentorship, financial and non-financial is imperative and pivotal to their total socio-economic liberation, improvement and upliftment of their livelihood.

The above-mentioned exposure is the pivot of this project. This project is concerned with creating a platform in the form of a forum, where relevant stakeholders are engaged to gather together to impart knowledge, provide advice and information to varied youth demographics from rural and under-developed areas, on diverse government and private interventions geared at economically uplifting young people of our country.

Industrialization knowledge and reviving of these manufacturing hubs that are left to ruin is central to this project. Kwetso Foundation is passionate about youth and women empowerment. Any support, assistance and interventions that can assist youth and women in rural areas will be highly appreciated by this foundation. This forum is about creating a platform for a dialogue between the youth and varied stakeholders and discussing ways that are available for youth to access industrialization knowledge and the available support geared to assisting young people for economic inclusion. The private sector is also invited to lend a hand.

Youth in secondary schools, young entrepreneurs, graduates, un-employed youth, women and youth co-operatives will be among attendees.

Kwetso Foundation welcomes any support towards organizing and successful execution of this project.