South Sudan has come up with a unique solution to deal with unemployment, all unemployed youth have been banned from loitering the streets of the capital, Juba and instead will be shipped to their villages were they should be involved in agriculture.
Thousands of unemployed youths have been flocking to major towns in search of jobs, but authorities fear they may be frustrated by lack of employment and soon resort to crime.
The unemployed youths, known as idlers, were given a two week ultimatum to return to their villages, failure to which they will be forcibly taken to their villages.
On Monday, Deputy Minister of the Interior Salva Mathok gave idlers a fortnight to leave major cities and to return to their home villages, warning that the state may carry out forceful repatriations if the ultimatum was not respected.
Mathok said an increase in idlers on the streets had been met by a corresponding increase “in cases of theft and insecurity in Juba and other towns”.
Mathok then advised the idlers to take advantage of the rainy season and return to their villages, where they would cultivate and grow food crops.
Observers have indicated that this could be part of a wider campaign to increase revenue through non-oil sources.
South Sudan police spokesman, Henry Taban said the move would discourage the unemployed from flocking o Juba and other towns in the country in search of jobs.
Taban argues that the local emigrants often end up “becoming a security risk” because “most of them do not get jobs and end up idling in the streets”.
South Sudan faces food deficits and imports grain from neighbouring Kenya and Uganda as a result of bad weather and constant attacks on farmers by Arab militias.
And with a ban on the use of Sudan’s oil infrastructure in place, Africa’s newest nation is looking for alternative methods to generate revenue, with agriculture being seen as one such.
Last week, South Sudan Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Marial Awou Yol, said a campaign he launched was meant to increase revenue from non-oil sources.
Wilson Lyong, an agriculture officer, supports the directive: “There is no reason why South Sudan should still be importing food from Uganda and Kenya because we have arable land and youths who can cultivate.”