NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – Private financial institutions have injected Sh2.5 billion into the Youth Enterprise Development Fund created by the government to provide the youth with affordable business credit.
Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank, Family Bank and First Community gave in to the call by the Youth Affairs Ministry to boost the kitty which initially stood at Sh1.75 billion.
President Mwai Kibaki launched the financial leverage at State House Nairobi and hailed the youth for demystifying the notion that they could not be trusted with resources, particularly money.
The Head of State said: “This is in recognition of the tremendous achievement by the fund in the short time it has been in operation. My Government will continue to support the growth of the Fund in order to benefit more of our young people.”
Urging young people with viable business ideas in Kenya to take advantage of the Fund, President Kibaki expressed optimism that the initiative would integrate thousands of youth into the mainstream financial services sector.
President Kibaki commended the youth for their high rate of repaying loans from the Fund which records show stand at 99 percent.
He remarked: “The achievements of this Fund have created confidence in our youth. The initial Fund has the potential to grow to a huge source of capital and minimise international borrowing.”
The government has so far allocated Sh1.75 billion with a commitment to allocate a further Sh500 million during this financial year. Some Sh1.6 billion has been disbursed to over 55,000 youth enterprises resulting to the creation of over 200,000 new jobs.
“We took this bold step because of our recognition that the youth posses immense energy and resourcefulness. If we can harness these qualities by supporting talented youth to engage in business, they will not only support themselves, but also provide employment to others,” the Head of State said.
The Head of State also launched the Fund’s Strategic Plan and used the occasion to encourage the entire private sector to embrace youth empowerment in their programmes.
“In addition to the financial institutions, I am happy to learn that the Youth Enterprise Board has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Netherlands Development Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration to provide capacity building support to our youth,” President observed.
Speaking during the occasion Youth Affairs Minister, Helen Sambili announced plans to establish a Youth Employment Marshall Plan which hopes to create over 500,000 jobs per annum on both the formal and informal sectors beginning January next year.