NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – The government has set aside Sh30 billion for vocational training and skills development aimed at empowering Kenyan youth with relevant skills to enable them engage in entrepreneurial activities.
The President said for the country to achieve its objectives under the Big 4 Agenda, there is need for a critical pool of human resources with appropriate technical skills.
“It is in this context that my government is laying heavy emphasis on vocational training. We have set aside Sh30 billion for this purpose in the next three years under the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVETs), NYS, and Polytechnics,” said President Kenyatta.
The President was speaking Thursday when he commissioned the 10,000 Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) 2jiajiri programme class of 2018 at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The Head of State said he is committed to run a government that creates a business environment where all Kenyans have equal opportunity to participate in nation building without any hindrance.
He said the government has fashioned a number of programmes intended to empower the youth, women and persons with disabilities to enable them engage in business and other gainful activities.
“These programmes include reservation of thirty per cent of all government procurement opportunities for women, youth and persons with disabilities, devolution of some services and functions to counties, and increased resource allocation to the devolved units,” said President Kenyatta.
He said through these initiatives, the number of persons engaged in productive economic activities rose by 5.6 per cent from 16 million in 2016 to 16.9 million in 2017.
“I note with satisfaction that since 2016 when this 2jiajiri Programme started over 23,000 youth have been trained and over 2,000 youth led business enterprises have been created,” said the President.
He pointed out that the new jobs, a majority emanating from the self-employment, are attributable to start-ups by women and the youth who are able to access low cost credit from Government programmes such as the Uwezo Fund and other initiatives.
He said the government is collaborating with the private sector under the ‘Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project’ to provide internships to support youth to acquire the prerequisite experience that employers and businesses require.
He said that through the Ajira Digital Programme which was started by the government in 2016, his administration aims at equipping a million young people with the appropriate technical skills they require to tap into the huge potential of online jobs.
The Head of State said the government will continue to invest in young people and champion their agenda, regionally and globally, in line with the new global partnership, Generation Unlimited, which seeks to get every young person into education, training or employment by 2030.
“We are working with the United Nations to tackle the global education and training crisis, which is currently holding back millions of young people and threatening progress and stability,” the President said.
“I am proud to be a Global Champion for this agenda, which brings together a wide range of partners – governments, the private sector, academia, international and civil society organizations – to expand opportunities for young people right across the world, ” he added.
While commending the graduands for their resolve, commitment to hard work, and resilience to achieve their objectives, the President challenged the youth to resist the urge to make quick money using short cuts that involve engaging in corrupt business activities.
“Success in business and being a successful entrepreneur is not about how fast you make money, it is being dedicated to what you do, giving good service and moving away from being a tenderpreneur, ” the President advised.
Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia said the government was developing a policy to make it easy for it to partner with the private sector in youth empowerment programmes.
Kenya Commercial Bank CEO Joshua Oigara said the bank would advance Sh10 billion each year for the next five years at a low interest of 9 per cent to support youth enterprises in the country.
Others who addressed the gathering were Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and outstanding beneficiaries of the programme.