What tribefree politics look like
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.
DURING THE THREEYEAR PERIOD, ABOUT 2 MILLION YOUTHS HAVE BENEFITTED FROM AFFIRMATIVE ACTION