The government has launched the Youth Enterprise Development Fund Strategic Plan 2020-2024 to empower the youth economically.
ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs CS Joe Mucheru said through the plan, the fund envisions to realize an economically empowered youth to run sustainable enterprises.
“This will be achieved by increasing economic opportunities where the youth will participate in creating jobs through innovative, affordable financing enterprise development and strategic partnerships,” he added.
Mucheru said the ministry of ICT will continue to develop strategies and interventions geared towards empowering the youth, as they are key to the country’s development agenda.
The CS was speaking at the Moi International Sport Centre Kasarani Wednesday, where President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the 750 winners of Youth Entrepreneurship Competition Award, dubbed ‘MbeleNaBiz’.
‘MbeleNaBiz’ Business Plan Competition under the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) is a programme aimed at empowering the youth through entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills building.
Mucheru said the programme which targets the youth with form four level of education and above, aged between18 and 35 seeks to foster entrepreneurial spirit and capacity among young Kenyans by supporting the development of strong business models.
“The KYEOP policy is unique as it gives an expanded nation of youth profile in Kenya by recognizing the categories of youth and is cognizant of their uniqueness diversity, expectations, challenges and opportunities of each,” he added.
He also announced that the KYEOP project that was implemented in 2016 and ends in December this year has four components including improving the youth employability, support and job creation, strengthening news policy development, project management and improving market formation, where the Ministry of Labour provides labour market information system.
In the component of improving youth employability the youth are equipped with life skills, core business skills and job specific skills, while in job creation it will be administered through the provision of small grants and business development services.
The CS said the key factors that were considered during the design and implementation of the ‘MbeleNabiz’ Business Plan Competition was the impact of the business and if it demonstrated the potential to provide employment for other youths aged between 18 to 35 years.
“We were also looking if the business has gloss potential and the youth had to demonstrate a promise of becoming commercially viable and if they are the owners of the businesses and if they can harness creativity,” he added.
Mucheru said the Jubilee administration continues to empower the youth in a systematic and transformative manner, taking pride that President Uhuru Kenyatta is the global youth champion.
“The President is celebrated by the United Nations General Assembly and his goodwill focuses on the need, opportunities and support for the young people,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, the World Bank County Director for Kenya Mr. Hansen Keith said the employment of youth contributes significantly to the country’s economy and assured of World Banks support in increasing employment and earnings opportunities for targeted youth through KYEOP project.
“The World Bank will support Kenyan Youth through a 150 million US Dollar multi- sectoral project,” he said.
The Director said Kenya is setting the standards in youth entrepreneurship employment and the World Bank is proud that KYEOP initiative is leading the way for others to follow.
Keith who congratulated the winners of the awards, said before the Covid-19 hit the country, Kenyans had seen a lot of progress in employment and expressed confidence that the economy will improve from the pandemic shock, which has severely hit businesses in the informal and formal sectors.
by Bernadette Khaduli