KCB Youth Employment Project Graduates 1000 Beneficiaries
At least 1100 youths graduated today after completing various entrepreneurship courses under the KCB Foundation 2Jiajiri initiative, exposing them to job opportunities in the country. The beneficiaries will now officially progress for the second phase of the training that includes business incubation through internship and apprenticeship opportunities. This is the first batch of beneficiaries under the programme launched in March this year which seeks to help bridge the unemployment gap in the country by providing the youth with opportunities to be entrepreneurs.
Speaking during the first 2jiajiri graduation ceremony, which took place at the KICC Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta hailed the programme, and such initiatives have the potential of easing the unemployment crisis in the country.
“As a government, we are committed to see that all youths in this country have a way of making an income. We have already rolled out several major projects to address this and we are doing more.”
He reiterated the government’s commitment to enhance youth specific affirmative action, which will go a long way in accelerating business growth for youth groups. Every year, the government sets aside tenders worth KES 200 Billion just for the youth, through the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) platform. By reserving 30% of public procurement for youth-run enterprises in economic development, the youth will be involved in gainful opportunities to enhance their businesses.
Ms. Sicily Kariuki, the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary, said that the government was committed to facilitating the youth to access financial credit for their businesses.
“In labour markets like ours, there is simply a demographic mismatch between the number of young people seeking work and the level of local economic activity. There is a severe shortage of locally available entry level jobs in the formal sector, but if we can create employment opportunities, our youth can enjoy meaningful careers.”
The Government, said Ms. Kariuki, has pledged to set aside 2.5% of the national revenue annually towards a Youth Enterprise Fund that will enable more young people with good business plans access interest free business loans.
This facility will be accessible to individuals or youth groups, who will not need to deposit the high value security demanded by most of our banks.
KCB Group CEO & MD Kenya Mr. Joshua Oigara said: “The programme is designed to dignify the informal sector. We are focused at changing the joblessness narrative that continues to be a big risk to Kenya’s economic expansion journey.”
“We are keen to work with the government and other like-minded organizations to bring change and hope for the young Kenyans who have no income,” said Mr Oigara. To this end, KCB Bank has committed Kshs.50 Billion over the next 5 years to support this exciting enterprise development programme, which will largely be used to support small and medium sized businesses specifically owned and managed by the youth in the informal sector.
So far, KCB Foundation has partnered with 114 training institutions country wide that offer technical and vocational education and training to the beneficiaries of the 2jiajiri program. In addition, the Foundation has also created linkages with corporate partners who have come on board to offer internship and apprenticeship opportunities to the graduates.
The training program ran for a 6 month period and included relevant life skills coaching and professional training in Construction, Fashion and Design, Hair and Beauty, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical sub sectors through various vocational training centers in the country.