Ramaphosa was speaking at the launch of the Youth Employment Service, known as the Yes initiative, at the Riverside Incubation Hub in Midrand on Tuesday. It is being launched by government in partnership with business and organised labour.

“This is an occasion of great significance in our country.”

Ramaphosa said the initiative was aimed at addressing the most pressing socio-economic challenges in the country, particularly poverty and unemployment among the youth.

“We know that millions of these young people do not complete school, and when they do, they do not have the skills that our economy needs.”

He said the initiative had its genesis 18 months ago, when government was challenged to support small and medium enterprises and garner more investments in the economy.

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The President said the country had the means to face its challenges.

“The decision to not downgrade us is a shot in our arm, we can face the other rating agencies with the view of them to review their rating.”

He said the aim was to make South Africa more attractive to investors.

“It is out of these investments that we will be able to create jobs.”

However, Ramaphosa pointed out that it was of concern that each year one million young people enter the schooling system, but only half make it to matric.

He said the government was increasing its investment in technical and vocational education and training colleges as they produce technical skills.

“Another pillar of our national effort to creating jobs for our young people was ensuring the preparation for work readiness. We need sustainable programmes that will prepare the youth for first-time employment.”

He said the future belonged to the youth.

“But they need to see that future now and today, they do not want to see it yesterday or in 10 years’ time.”

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Ramaphosa has promised that there will be further initiatives to address challenges facing the youth.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura echoed the President’s sentiments. He said the future of the country was in the hands of the youth and that it was important to transform the township economy.

“The call for a social compact is something that is taking full shape.”

He encouraged the youth to stop feeling sorry for themselves and go out and make a difference.

– News24