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Govt launches Sh1.8bn rural youth employment programs in western kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 10 – The government has launched an Sh1.8 billion rural youth employment programmes in western Kenya through agriculture in partnership with the German Development Agency. 

Over 10,000 youth in Bungoma, Kakamega, Siaya and Vihiga Counties will benefit from the programmes that are aimed at increasing youth participation in Agriculture.  

The projects will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Cooperatives and the German Technical Cooperation Agency Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbelt (GIZ) in the next five years. 

“Today we launch two key programmes that are expected to transform over 10, 000 youth.  The first being the Rural youth employment in Western Kenya Initiative dubbed KilimoNiBiz as well as the Youth Employment In Agri-food sector in Western Kenya programme which will increase their employability through competency- based training, promotion of job placement services and strengthening the self-organization of the rural youth. They will also look to support strategy and policy development as well as strengthening the dialogue and collaboration between the national and county government as well as the private sector.” said the Ministry’s Chief Administrative Secretary Anne Nyaga. 

“The projects were agreed on during the negotiations between Kenya and Germany in December 2018 with Germany issuing the Sh1.8 billion grants. Though regional, the projects will serve as models and references for national development and possible upscaling in the future,” Nyaga explained. The projects also aim to improve the business environment and improve access to inputs, services and markets, strengthen the demand for labour, matching of labour demand and supply for employment promotion whereby qualified youth will be connected with enterprises sourcing for talents through internship programs, career advisory and digital matching services.”

Demographic analysis shows that more than two thirds of Kenya’s population is the youth. In 2019 the estimated youth unemployment rate in Kenya was at 18.34 percent.

Agriculture is key to Kenya’s economy, contributing 26 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and another 27 percent of GDP through linkages with other sectors. The sector also employs more than 40 percent of the total population and more than 70 percent of Kenya’s rural people. 

There’s a need to create food security in the country and thus the government is keen on strong collaborations and partnerships.

Programmes such as these will help address the plight of the youth especially in agribusiness. She urged the youth to take up these opportunities that will allow them to lead better quality lives as well as further develop the agricultural sector. 

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The key outcome projections of the programmes include better access to inputs, services and markets, 500 startups created, as well as 10,000 youth with improved employment prospects.

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