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Lafarge eyes new cement plant

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Kenya is set to benefit from the establishment of a new cement factory by the Lafarge group of companies.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on President Mwai Kibaki, Lafarge Executive Vice-President Guillaume Roux said his company was keen on establishing another cement plant at an estimated cost of Sh20 billion.

“The new cement factory will a go a long way in complementing the Government’s efforts of creating jobs for the Kenyan youth,” Mr Roux said.

President Kibaki affirmed his Government was steadfast in improving the investment climate and reducing the cost of doing business in the region.

“By reducing business costs we could open Kenya to serve as a gateway to the entire East African Community region,” he said.

The President noted that such investments would offer job opportunities for the unemployed youth.

“Factories such as yours open up job opportunities for our youth and would go a long way in helping us tackle this issue.”

One of President Kibaki’s campaign anthems during the 2002 general elections was job creation for the youth. Seven years down the line little has changed with the youth crying daily for the promised jobs.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that the ever increasing numbers of unemployed youth posed the greatest risk to peace and tranquillity in the country citing the post election period when ‘idle youth’ engaged in acts of lawlessness and violence due to despondency.
“The unemployment we face in Kenya is nothing but a time bomb. It has been correctly stated that despondency played a big role in fuelling the violence that swept our land during the political crisis last year,” he said.

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The government recently admitted that it was unable to provide jobs for all youth, but Prime Minister Raila Odinga advised young people to engage in self-employment or seek opportunities in the private sector instead of constantly looking to the government for jobs.

The lack of jobs for the youth could be tied down to the high cost of school tuition and changing economic climate but a select simply lack ambition and motivation to better themselves.

The Youth Enterprise Funds and Kazi Kwa Vijana programmes are some of the government initiatives set up to empower the youth.

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