, NAIVASHA, Kenya, Jun 24 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said that the government is in the process of rolling out the second phase of the Kazi Kwa Vijana (KKV) programme that will offer private-sector internships and relevant training for youths.
The PM noted that apart from labour-intensive work, the main objective is to improve youth employability through work experience and skills upgrading in both formal and informal sectors.
“We are in the process of rolling out the second phase of this programme, which seeks to support government efforts to increase access to youth-targeted temporary employment programmes," he added.
Mr Odinga was speaking on Friday at Sopa Lodge , Naivasha when he addressed the 25th meeting of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC).
He expressed concern that unemployment in the country especially among the youth presented a grim picture saying it was estimated at 40 percent of the labour force of which 67 percent is youth.
The PM noted that the situation was further compounded with about half-a-million people annually joining the labour market that has no jobs to offer.
Saying the situation was untenable, Mr Odinga challenged the forum to recommend means of helping businesses expand hiring and have the private sector increase its capacity for creating jobs.
The PM at the same time said there was need to address the mismatch between the skills acquired and the jobs available.
He said one of the ironies the country faced was that while thousands of educated people are looking for work, many companies are also out there looking for workers with relevant skills.
"In tackling unemployment, creating a knowledge-based economy and safeguarding economic growth we need to ensure our institutions of higher learning do actually prepare students for what they are paying for," he added.
He emphasised the need to produce more high-technology works and the importance of paying attention to the creation of public-private partnerships that will help produce such high-technology workers.
"I want to challenge ourselves at this forum to come up with programmes to improve industry partnerships with our learning and training institutions.
Mr Odinga acknowledged that the formal sector does not have the capacity to create the required number of jobs adding there was need for a multi-sectoral approach in tackling the unemployment situation in the country.
The PM observed that the country was reeling under enormous pressure from adverse climatic conditions and high global fuel prices adding it has grave implications for the economy.
He said the matter was compounded by soaring exchange rates beyond Sh90 to the dollar and the rising cost of food with maize flour retailing at Sh135 for a two kilogramme bag and shortages looming.
He however expressed optimism that the array of issues lined up for discussion at the NESC forum focusing on the state of the economy, unemployment and development of knowledge-based economy would help in providing solutions to some of the issues.
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