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Ajira Digital Business Engagement forum kicks off

Ajira Digital Programme engaged business executives in Kenya to assess and explore the synergies and potential collaboration opportunities within the digital market and economy.

The forum held at a city hotel follows a recent national study on the digital economy which indicated that more than 1.2 million young people are earning their livelihood through digital and digitally-enabled jobs.

This scale has been reached as a result of the growing importance of Kenya’s digital ecosystem and the role of the private sector in spurring innovations, jobs, and enterprises for youth.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA’s) Chief Executive Officer, Ms Carole Kariuki, said the private sector companies have been actively involved in supporting the implementation of youth employment programmes to create employment for millions of unemployed youth.

Some of the programmes include Safaricom’s Blaze, ABSA Bank Kenya’s Ready-To-Work, KCB’s2Jiajiri, Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly, Mabati Rolling Mills’ Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative, and TVET programmes among others.

“Most employers are currently looking for employees who can work remotely and apply digital skills as indicated in a report by Mercy Corps which predicted that by 2030, nearly 55 percent of all jobs in Kenya will require digital skills,” said Kariuki.

Ms Carole made the remarks in a speech read on her behalf by the KEPSA’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer-Projects and Foundation, Ms Martha Cheruto, during the Ajira Digital Programme Business Executives’ Engagement forum held at a Nairobi hotel.

“The shift in the job market would see increased opportunities for youth including those living with disabilities but only if they are supported,” she stated.

Speaking at the event, Project Director-Ajira Digital Programme, Dr Ehud Gachugu, said a recent national study on the digital economy indicated that about 1.2 million young people are earning their livelihoods through digital and digitally-enabled jobs.

Dr Gachugu advised business leaders to digitise their processes and tap into the digital workers’ talents as they look into reducing business costs and solving capacity issues while at the same time focusing on more core functions and increased productivity from their employees.

“Together, we can catalyse and enable the demand side locally, regionally and internationally,” said Gachugu.

One of the panelists in the discussion session, Rosemary Momanyi of Google Ads Marketing and the Lead for East and West Africa, extolled the impact the Ajira Digital Programme has had in the digitization of businesses in Kenya through Google products.

The Nairobi business executives’ forum is the first of a series of discussion engagements, and moves to Homa Bay and Kisumu on December 14th and 15th respectively.

The partnership that has seen over 1,500 businesses attending the Google workshops held in collaboration with Ajira has created more than 3,000 jobs for the youth who engage as field agents.

The digital economy remains a top priority for the government and over the last 15 years, Ajira digital has put in place enabling policies and investments to support the efforts, while the government, through the Ministry of ICT, has connected broadband across the country to enable all Kenyans access internet services.

By Catherine Muindi

 

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