President Uhuru Kenyatta has said 150 Youth Empowerment Centres are being rehabilitated countrywide to help youth harness and nurture their talents.
President Kenyatta said the centres will provide a friendly environment for young people to engage in self-empowerment programmes.
“These centres are equipped with ICT and sporting infrastructure, as well as counselling services for the utility of young people,” he said.
The Head of State made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru on Monday during celebrations to mark the International Youth Week at Matuga in Kwale County.
The President said the centres will also serve as avenues for acquisition of digital skills, promotion of talent and accessing of information, adding that they will also ensure social inclusion and holistic development of the youth.
He said as envisioned in the country’s development agenda, Kenya Vision2030, the Ministry of Youth will continue developing these facilities until there is a Youth Empowerment Centre in every Sub-County.
The President said the government was investing in the development of digital skills among the youth to meet the competencies and expertise required for the digital economy.
He mentioned Digital Literacy in primary schools, Ajira Digital and the Presidential Digital Talent as among the programmes already under implementation.
He said the Ajira Digital Project has positioned Kenya as a choice labour destination for multinationals, adding that since its inception in 2017, the programme has provided 638,000 youth with continuous training and mentorship for the acquisition of skills to access digital jobs locally and internationally.
The president also said investment in the sports and arts sector have witnessed significant growth of opportunities and incomes for the young people.
“For example, the Live and Recording Industry contributed Sh1.9 billion to our economy in the last two years. And it’s projected to generate revenues of Sh2.9 billion by 2020,” said the President.
President Kenyatta further said the government has dedicated considerable resources to the Affirmative Action Programmes to promote entrepreneurship, provide financial support and market access to women and youth.
“Since the inception of affirmative funds, Sh42 billion has been transferred to SME’s providing support to 4.5 million beneficiaries across the country,” added the President.
He further disclosed that during this financial year Sh2.5 billion in affordable credit will be issued to youth, women and people with disabilities.
President Kenyatta added that they also accessed Government Procurement opportunities of over Sh150 billion worth of tenders.
At the same time, President Kenyatta said the government has taken deliberate measures to protect the youth against gambling and has revoked licenses for betting companies that have not complied with the country’s laws and shut down their Pay Bill accounts.
He said “gambling has entrapped many youth in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness. Gambling also erodes the benefits of disposable income in our economy.”
The President noted that youth cannot prosper if every coin they make ends up in gambling.
Mr. Mucheru was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Prof Margaret Kobia (Public Service, Youth and Gender) and Prof George Magoha of Education.
Also present were Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, Kwale Senator Issa Boy and Principal Secretaries Jerome Ochieng (ICT), Hamisi Boga (Agricultural Research), Safina Kwekwe (Gender Affairs) and several heads of parastatals.
By Mohamed Hassan