South Africa’s women and youth will have an opportunity to weigh in on the ongoing land reform debate.

From 19th – 21st September, the women and youth will convene at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg for the Women and Youth Dialogue on Land Reform under the theme “Land, Our Heritage”.

Hosted by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the dialogue is intended to create a platform to discuss the participation of women and youth in the economy through Land Reform programmes.

Another objective of the Women and Youth Dialogue on Land Reform is to make a holistic assessment of tools and equipment needs which make a business enterprise viable and measure the availability of the basic requirements against what tools and equipment are in the possession of women, particularly those in the rural areas, to work with.

“This yardstick exercise to be conducted through various reports from women at the conference will determine whether women are empowered and the different levels of empowerment as well as the lack of empowerment and its extent,” the department said on Tuesday.

Youth unemployment rate is currently sitting at around 36% which doesn’t augur well, to have a generation which must inherit the running of the country in future, for presently sitting idle, the department said.

As such, the dialogue will explore different avenues of involving the youth in projects whilst simultaneously making a dent on the youth unemployment rate.

“Stakeholders from different public and private sectors, including, NGOs, are expected to converge to the conference to discuss and map a way forward for the creation of an enabling environment for women and youth empowerment and development in the land reform sector.”

Presentations by expert specialists or speakers and panel discussions by key stakeholders focusing on the challenges faced by women and youth in the sector such as access to land and finance, tools and equipment, the markets for products, further training and knowledge development, linking the women and youth to players within the agricultural sectors and relevant government entities to help women and youth to run viable and sustainable businesses are some of the topics to be discussed.

The women and youth will be made up of those who are active participants and beneficiaries in the rural development and land reform space, small-hold farmers, co-operatives, final-year tertiary students, NARYSEC participants, academics, researchers, the legal fraternity, land Claims Court; Women and Youth Traditional Leadership, among others.