NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – The Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Chairman Ronnie Osumba, has said youth unemployment has dropped from 21 percent in 2010 to 17 percent in 2017.
Osumba says the drop is attributable to the higher uptake of entrepreneurship.
However, overall unemployment in the country has been stagnant at between 35 and 38 percent
The YEDF Chairman says more needs to be done to promote the entrepreneurial culture in the country, urging the private sector to increase its efforts in promoting entrepreneurship.
The Youth Enterprise Development Fund has so disbursed Sh12.2 billion to over 1.4 million Kenya youth in its 10 years of existent.
Since July 2017 the fund has released about Sh415 million.
“In the last two years, we have seen a change. We have invested significantly in setting up a new technology that allows us to automate the processes. We have reduced the turnaround time of accessing our funds from three months to three weeks and we also have a more efficient system at the devolved level at the counties,” Osumba said.
The Fund is currently lending about Sh150 million a month from Sh20 million a month two years ago.
Youth Enterprise Development Fund is among the five-strong financial institutions that will be merged to form the mega-development institution that includes the Kenya Industrial Estates, Development Bank of Kenya, Industrial Development Bank of Kenya, Uwezo Fund, and Women Enterprise Development Fund.
The move is aimed at increasing efficiency, resolving overlaps and better utilise resources to achieve economies of scale.
In order to make the merger and transition seamless, the Government established an inter-agency taskforce to review the legal regulatory and institutional framework involved in the process.
The taskforce has already issued interim orders while it completes its work.
The Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua has issued a circular to the affected agencies informing them of the decisions to be implemented in the interim period.
“In think this is a good move, likely to be called a Biashara Fund is going to be bigger and better what we need to be careful about is that we don’t lose that focus on the marginalized groups, the focus on women, the focus on persons living with disabilities and youth has to continue,” he advised.