NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – President Mwai Kibaki has instructed the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General to eliminate any legal or administrative obstacles that make it difficult for the youth to get government contracts.
He said this is the only way to accelerate the growth of youth owned enterprises.
He further directed that all ministries to include youth focused targets in the performance contracts of all their departments.
“The youth are yet to fully enjoy this benefit (Youth Enterprise Fund). I direct the Attorney General and the Minister of Finance to remove the legal bottlenecks that hinder the youth from being able to access government contracts,” he stated on Tuesday.
The Head of State also lauded the introduction of a credit guarantee scheme that will make credit available to the youth both in the public and private sectors.
He said that the initiative would enable the youth to get more funds which will help them develop their entrepreneurship skills.
Speaking during the 5th anniversary celebrations of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, President Kibaki expressed the government’s support for the process.
“We shall accelerate the growth of youth owned enterprises. I acknowledge the fact that the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and indeed the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports cannot deal with all youth issues single-handedly,” he said.
He further invited Non-Governmental Organisations to support the government’s initiative of empowering the youth.
“I urge all non-governmental actors who wish to partner with us to come forward and join us in these efforts so that we can leverage each other’s efforts,” he said.
The Ministry of State for Youth Affairs was established on December 7, 2005 to address concerns of the youth in the country.
This was grounded on the realisation that the government may not achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals without adequately dealing with the many socio-economic challenges facing the Kenyan youth.
In May, 2008 the department of sports in the then Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services was transferred to the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, forming Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
The Youth Enterprise Development Fund was conceived in June 2006 by the government as a strategic move towards arresting unemployment which is virtually a youth problem.
Seventy five percent of those unemployed are the youth. The government set aside Sh1 billion in the 2006/07 budget and subsequent fiscal year budgets to fast-track this initiative.
The Fund was gazetted on December 8, 2006 to provide the necessary legal framework to govern its use and operations.
The Fund facilitates youth employment through enterprise development and structured labour export.
The objectives of the fund is to provide loans to existing micro-finance institutions, registered Non-Governmental Organisations involved in micro financing, and Savings and Credit Co-operative Organisations for on-lending to youth enterprises.
It also seeks to attract and facilitate investment in micro, small and medium enterprises oriented commercial infrastructure such as business or industrial parks, markets or business incubators that will be beneficial to youth enterprises.
Its aim was to also support youth oriented micro, small and medium enterprises to develop linkages with large enterprises and facilitate marketing of products and services of youth enterprises in both domestic and international markets.