Counties urged to invest more in the youth

April 22, 2016 3:58 pm
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Former PM Raila Odinga is welcomed to the conference by CoG Chairman Peter Munya/COURTESY
Former PM Raila Odinga is welcomed to the conference by CoG Chairman Peter Munya/COURTESY

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – The third Devolution Conference in Meru came to a close Friday with County Governments being urged to invest more in the youth, as this will boost the country’s economy in the long run.

Speaking during the meeting, United Nations Population Fund Representative in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee stated that resources should readily be made available to the youth to ensure they are constructively employed.

He observed that a large percentage of the population is made up of the youth and hence their capacity should be enhanced both at the national and county levels.

Overview
  • United Nations Population Fund Representative in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee stated that resources should readily be made available to the youth to ensure they are constructively employed.
  • He observed that a large percentage of the population is made up of the youth and hence their capacity should be enhanced both at the national and county levels.
  • “With the rising youth bulge which is capable of making Kenya one of the most progressive countries, if we can get proper employment from young people, Kenya’s economy will grow 12 times, that is the prediction and these are based on proper simulation models,” he said.

“With the rising youth bulge which is capable of making Kenya one of the most progressive countries; if we can get proper employment from young people, Kenya’s economy will grow 12 times, that is the prediction and these are based on proper simulation models,” he said.

He indicated that the youth can be critical agents of positive social economic change if appropriate investment can be made to unleash their power to innovate and become productive citizens.

“The converse is also true if no investment is made on the youth. The youth if not properly educated can also then become a demographic disaster. It will increase social tension, there will be less jobs available, there will be social unrest,” he said.

While citing examples, he stressed that a country’s economy can be destroyed should no proper investment be made on the youth.

“New Delhi shut down for close to a week because at a neighbouring state or county as you would term it here, young people went on a strike about unemployment,” he explained.

“That strike was a wake-up call for the National Government as well as the State Government. It virtually brought the capital city of Delhi to a standstill. Imagine such a thing happening along Mombasa Road. It is unimaginable the havoc it would wreck,” he stated.

He observed that the rate of unemployment in the country is high and if not checked, it could spell disaster.

“Three thousand Kenyans are born every day, a million every year. A million join the work force every year but there are close to two hundred to three hundred thousand jobs. The rate of unemployment among young people is humongous,” he said.

“Science has a clear message for Kenya. That the opportunity to harness the demographic dividends is now enormous, real and eminent. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea exponentially jumped their economy in the 60s, 70s and 80s by generating large scale employment in every sector.”

He emphasised the role played by the youth in providing manpower in various sectors of the economy.

“Let us not forget the employment that is needed to build roads, infrastructure, the workers needed to get the economy of this country going. The youth play an important part of this work force,” he stated.

Homabay Governor Cyprian Awiti also stressed the need for fearless leadership and strong commitment to ensure devolution succeeds.

“The world met in the year 2000 to come up with Millennium Development Goals which were eight. The target was to meet these goals by 2015. These goals were reviewed in September 25, 2015 and a lot of other achievements were identified and then transited to Sustainable Development goals which were 17,” he said.

During the final session, the governors also examined the approaches and innovations in Information Technology that can be adopted to create wealth, employment and economic growth.

They will also sought to interrogate the responsibility of public and private offices and the measures they can adopt to fight graft.

The meeting commenced on Wednesday and saw MPs and Governors facing off in a new controversy over an alleged secret fund amounting to hundreds of millions of shillings set aside by counties to fund operations of the Council of Governors.

READ: MPs, Governors face off over Delta House rent monies

House Leaders Aden Duale and Francis Nyenze also told Parliament that they boycotted the conference because Governors are not committed to protecting public funds.

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