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Maseru, Aug. 31 — The 2023 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) conference for youth was officiated in Maseru on Thursday.

The opening was performed by Director ICT in the Ministry of Information, Communication, Science, Technology and Innovation (MICSTI), Mr. Khiba Masiu on behalf of the newly appointed Principal Secretary, Mr. Kanono Ramashamole and Mrs. ‘Mabulara Tsuena, Programme Specialist at UNDP on behalf of Resident Representative Dr. Jacqueline Olweya.

Organised by UNDP in partnership with the two Ministries that is Ministry of Information and Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports, Arts, Culture and Social Development, the conference aims to attract ideas from youth with specific focus on STEAM that would address and help the country achieve National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP ll)  priority sectors being agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, mining and ICT.

In his speech, Mr. Khiba Masiu congratulated youth across the country who submitted their prototypes to UNDP, saying the need to think innovatively and creatively is key if the country is to grow economically and reduce unemployment among youth.

He noted that the Ministry of Information aims to ensure an enabling environment hence an innovation policy has already been established in this regard. “We will work together with relevant stakeholders so that as youth bring ideas, they are better used for job creations.

Similarly, Mrs. Tsuene reiterated that this is not just an initiative but a competition as well seeking to motivate youth that entrepreneurship is the way to employment creation.

She explained that UNDP has received 500 applicants of shared ideas from youth, top 100 was picked, out of the top 100, top 50  will later be announced, top 15 and top five respectively. Winners will be awarded prizes.

One of the youth, Zwilithini Matsoso of Butha-Buthe highlighted the importance of initiatives such as these ones which he said will go a long way in including youth in decision making so as to transform the economy of Lesotho.

Present at this event also included Entrepreneurship Network Executive Director, Mr. Thabo Stephen Monyamane who motivated youth on development of business ideas, incubation stage and acceleration stage. The STEAM conference started on Saturday.

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