Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is set to grace the launch of the pilot night market at the COMESA grounds on Friday next week. I will run through to Sunday.
“This is a significant milestone in the growth and development of our economy in the county and the country at large,” the Governor stated. “The initiative is in line with our County Strategic Plan that is geared towards promoting a 24 hour economy so as to improve our socio-economic lives in the county,” Kidero said.
The initiative dubbed Ignite Kenya Youth Night Market is a joint initiative of City Hall and the Youth Agenda, a non-governmental organisation.
“The night markets are one way of addressing the serious youth unemployment challenge which is not unique to Nairobi County but a countrywide challenge, we’re calling on the youth to take up the opportunity to make some extra income,” said Anne Lokidor, the Nairobi County Executive in charge of youth affairs.
She said the youth will have an opportunity, on select weekends every month, to sell merchandise such as clothes and shoes, cosmetics, food and drinks, sports and fitness gear, electronics, arts, books, kitchen ware, decor, kids toys and many other items. She indicated that county government guards will provide security for traders from 4pm to midnight when the markets will close.
Lokidor said the county government resolved to waive the Sh2,500 license fees that would have been payable by the traders, in addition to waiving permits to allow for the distribution of publicity materials.
She explained that City Hall will also put the Nairobi County Fires truck and Ambulance Services to attend to any emergencies.
She likened the initiative to other similar ones such as the Stop Night Market in Ontario, Canada and the Queens Night Market in New York.
“They will offer Nairobians who are busy during the day an opportunity to buy clothes and other household goods on their way from work and during the weekends,” she said.
The Ignite Kenya Youth Night Market initiative is also supported by the national government through the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs as well as the Ford Foundation and the Good Neighbours Committee.
A recent survey released by the World Bank identified Kenya as having one of the highest youth unemployment rates both globally compared to neighbouring countries like Uganda and Tanzania.
This is the latest partnership that the Nairobi County government has entered to support the creation of youth employment opportunities.
Earlier this month the county government signed a similar agreement with the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Foundation, which has set out a quest to create 2.5 million jobs in the next five years by supporting youthful entrepreneurs.