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Gov’t, corporates partner to enhance Ajira digital program

The government has forged partnerships with players in the corporate sector to enable the youth possess high levels of digital and entrepreneurial skills to maximize on the available e-commerce opportunities.

Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said this was being done through the Ajira Digital Program in partnership with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), the Mastercard Foundation and eMobilis among other partners.

The CS said this in a speech read on his behalf by the ministry’s Ag. Director of Public Communications Monica Omoro during the Twiva Media Group official launch.

Mucheru commended Twiva for enabling Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with little or no digital footprint, to build an online presence at minimal cost, through provision of affordable and efficient access to consumers using strategic social media Influencers.

“I am informed that on this Twiva platform, influencers are able to market and sell products and services by leveraging on their influence, knowledge and engagement on their social networks to promote sales conversions,” said Mucheru.

Mucheru explained that some of the notable achievements under the Ajira digital project include the partnership with the Judiciary to create work opportunities for the youth, where 61 courts were digitized through data entry, scanning and transcription of documents.

At the same time, 69,407 legal transcripts were submitted to the judiciary and also over 10,596.46 audio hours transcribed.

“Phase two of this partnership will provide support to 194 courts in 34 counties and create an additional 1,400 jobs over a six-month period,” said Mucheru, adding that other achievements include the engagement of 50 local suppliers by Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to provide products and services such as rent, air travel, hotels, computers and software, inverters, courier services and stationery.

The CS explained that the National Study on Digital and Digitally Enabled Work in Kenya, which they commissioned to assess the vibrancy of the gig economy and whose findings were launched on 20th of September this year, identifies that majority of digital workers earn a monthly average of Sh20, 773, which is higher than the minimum wage in Kenya, proving that ‘indeed online work is work.’

“Some of the online work opportunities include Digital marketing and search engine optimization that provides income to an estimated 282,042 people. Data entry and article writing follow closely with 256,402 and 252, 033 people engaged,” said Mucheru.

He added that another 179,481 persons are engaged in producing blogs and vlogs, while a similar number being engaged in website design. Other notable opportunity areas in the study include academic and scientific writing, transcription, virtual assistants, online research and surveys, coding, and data science activities.

“Over 23,000 artists and creative actors are currently using Skiza and Viusasa, earning over Sh2.4 billion annually. This would not have been possible pre-digitization,” said Mucheru.

KEPSA Deputy CEO Martha Cheruto said that they are engaging with the Ajira digital platform and SMEs by offering training opportunities, coaching, financing and market linkages to ensure that the businesses become bigger and employ more people.

“We have partnered with the Ministry of ICT in the Ajira programme, where we are supporting and linking the young people to digital and digitally enabled opportunities as well as supporting the growth of the private sector so that it can generate more opportunities for the youth so that they can create jobs and wealth,” said Cheruto.

Twiva CEO Peter Kironji said that their aim was to give SME’s access to markets so that they can sell more, be sustainable and at least create one job opportunity which will in return solve the unemployment challenge in the country.

Kironji said that social media continues to have a good penetration within the country and it has become an equalizer which enables small businesses to compete with the big companies to reach the consumers and market their products.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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