What tribefree pol­i­tics look like

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page -

Amul­ti­ple ap­proach in which trans­for­ma­tive youth em­pow­er­ment is be­ing im­ple­mented, through the Youth Em­pow­er­ment Pro­gramme un­der the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice, has cre­ated many jobs. The progress these ef­forts have made in the past three years has not only been en­cour­ag­ing, but has also showed we can es­tab­lish a youth econ­omy at the na­tional level faster than we en­vis­aged.

For in­stance, dur­ing the three-year pe­riod, about two mil­lion youths ben­e­fit­ted from the Af­fir­ma­tive Ac­tion funds dis­bursed by the govern­ment to the tune of over Sh11.7 bil­lion — with in­di­vid­ual re­pay­ment rates av­er­ag­ing 76 per cent.

This ini­tia­tive, un­der the Youth En­treprise De­vel­op­ment Fund, en­gages young Kenyans in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and in­creased fi­nan­cial ac­tiv­ity among them­selves, re­duces poverty and en­hances life and en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills. It con­se­quently cre­ates for­mal and self-em­ploy­ment.

Fur­ther, about 77,000 youth have been en­gaged to work in 74 con­stituen­cies un­der the Youth Em­pow­er­ment Pro­gramme and have earned Sh5.4 bil­lion. They have also cre­ated 300 Sac­cos with a whop­ping Sh1.4 bil­lion in sav­ings.

More to this, they have con­structed, among others, 212 small wa­ter dams and wa­ter pans as part of their work. Over 23,325 youths are be­ing trained on var­i­ous tech­ni­cal skills while over 37,000 others have been re­cruited into the NYS.

This has led to a struc­tured so­cial trans­for­ma­tion of the youth, em­pow­er­ment of the com­mu­ni­ties through gain­ful em­ploy­ment, cre­ated youth economies, re­duced crime, in­creased in­fra­struc­ture and ac­cess to clean wa­ter, and en­hanced their em­ploy­a­bil­ity.

In this re­gard, I would like to chal­lenge young peo­ple to seize the mo­ment and be­come in­volved in these ini­tia­tives with the knowl­edge that they are the big­gest de­mo­graphic in Kenya at ages 15 to 24 years old. They have solid sup­port from Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta.

Im­por­tantly, with a pre­dom­i­nantly youth­ful pop­u­la­tion (un­der 35 years) of around 72 per cent, any de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme in Kenya can­not suc­ceed un­less it caters for them.

The dis­burse­ments and ini­tia­tives across the coun­try ad­dress the needs of the youth and the crit­i­cally chal­leng­ing is­sue of the per­va­sive prob­lem of lack of skills.

This is es­pe­cially in case of the mis­match be­tween the skills ac­quired in col­leges and those re­quired in the labour mar­ket.

Re­solv­ing this dis­con­nect would go a long way in tack­ling ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment.

Em­pir­i­cal re­search re­veals that when the na­tion ad­dresses emerg­ing prob­lems and ex­pands busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for youth-owned en­ter­prises, it re­duces poverty at the house­hold level.

It is there­fore grat­i­fy­ing that, as a ma­jor pil­lar in its de­vel­op­ment strat­egy, the govern­ment has adopted en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment as a pol­icy agenda to­wards job cre­ation.

The cre­ation of pro­duc­tive, de­cent and sus­tain­able liveli­hoods for young peo­ple has be­come a key ob­jec­tive for both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors.

My min­istry con­tin­ues to en­gage young peo­ple to ad­dress the is­sues that af­fect them the most.

The big­gest man­date for any govern­ment is to make it pos­si­ble for peo­ple to start and do busi­ness with­out hin­drance.

An en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for busi­ness ad­dresses dis­tri­bu­tional in­ef­fi­cien­cies caused by mar­ket fail­ure. My min­istry’s strat­egy for work­ing with the youth is to trans­form them from earn­ers of wages to own­ers of cap­i­tal.


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