, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 24 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said that the government is devoted to providing the youth with opportunities that enable them engage in economic development as a key investment into the country’s future.
He noted that 71.8 percent of the Kenyan population comprises the youth who must be given every chance to actively shape their destiny and that of the country.
Mr Odinga observed it was a blunder to see the youth as trouble makers that are better ignored or kept at bay. The PM said failure by government to take the youth into account “would be a grave mistake.”
At the same time, the PM also challenged the youth to rise to the occasion and claim their rightful position in the society.
“My message to you dear friends is; dare to dream, set your goals, have a mission and pursue them relentlessly," said Mr Odinga.
He stated that young people are now growing in a better environment provided by a new constitution that recognises that they should have a chance.
He said that according to findings by the Economist magazine, it has emerged that Africa’s young and growing population is one of the continent’s biggest competitive advantage.
The Prime Minister said this on Wednesday when he presided over the first Prime Minister’s Round table meeting with the youth.
The objective of this inaugural meeting was to formally establish and lay the foundation of structured engagement with the youth and also to discuss and suggest priority issues like education, youth empowerment, leadership, governance sports and creativity that need to be fast-tracked.
Vision 2030, the Premier said, compelled the government to allow the youth every opportunity to articulate issues affecting them as well as participate in decision making.
He said that the youth had also been provided with an opportunity to inform government policy and hold leaders to account.
"I want the government, including myself, to learn from you. Our duty will be to try and factor your concerns into our policies," he said.
He called on various government ministries and agencies (MDAs) to expedite the implementation of agreed recommendations and fully engage the youth at the ministerial level through Ministerial stakeholders’ fora.
Present were ministers Dr Paul Otuoma of Youth and Sports, Dalmas Otieno of Public service, PS in the office of the PM Dr Mohammed Isahakia, PS Ministry of Youth James Waweru and the head of Public Service Transformation Emmanuel Lubembe.