NAIROBI, April 18 – The Italian government is set to invest Sh4.4 billion in youth programmes in the country.
The money, in the form of the ‘Kenya-Italy Debt For Development Programme’ (KIDDP) converts bilateral debt into financial resources to implement projects over a period of ten years.
The project was originally conceived in 2006 with the aim of supporting the Kenyan government to reduce its external debt burden, while at the same time sustaining its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Italian Ambassador Pierandrea Magistrati said on Friday that the programme would foster the National Vocational Training Reform through the revitalisation of 50 Youth Polytechnics in Nairobi, Tharaka, Suba, Kilifi, Nyandarua and West Pokot.
“The programme converts bi-lateral debts owed by the Kenyan government to the Italian government into financial resources to implement the relevant projects to the tune of Sh4.4 billion over a period of ten years,” Magistrati stated.
The total commitment in the youth sector during the first two years of activities amounts to over Sh350 million.
Training activities carried out by the Kenya Teachers Technical College involve over 56 instructors, managers and representatives of management committees within the different polytechnics.
By the end of the ten years, the KIDDP will have upgraded the capacity and the technical skills of over 500 people from the selected youth polytechnics.
Magistrati also pointed out that in the health sector, the programme aims to improve access to basic medical services through the rehabilitation of dispensaries and health centres, provision of medical equipment and capacity building for health personnel.
He said that in the water sector, the KIDDP supports projects to increase supply in rural areas through the development and upgrading of water supply systems as well as capacity building activities.
Youth Affairs Minister Hellen Sambili at the same time gave assurance that the ministry was working on a National Policy to increase the competency of Youth Polytechnics in the country.
“The ministry is developing a national policy for youth polytechnics and vocational training centres to facilitate the establishment of a legal framework,” she illustrated.
Sambili emphasised the need to enhance the capacity of young men and women to effectively participate in the nation’s development effort.’
She expressed the ministry’s determination to provide opportunities for young people to find decent and productive work, and allow them to become independent and responsible citizens.
She stressed the fact that the KIDDP programme would also help Kenya attain its vision 2030 target, by making it a newly industrialised middle level income country.
The Minister pointed out the need to provide avenues for the acquisition of technical, professional or entrepreneurial skills that would empower the youth and enable them participate in gainful employment.