Stanbic Kenya Foundation, Microsoft Kenya and the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade, and Enterprise Development at the partnership launch.

Private sector players, Stanbic Kenya Foundation and Microsoft Kenya, in conjunction with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development have partnered to provide digital upskilling for over 50,000 entrepreneurs and individuals who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19.

The digital learning and skilling initiative is purposed to bridge the digital divide across the various counties in Kenya. Training will take place in select institutions and is expected to have a total of 1,000 government employees upskilled and seconded to the program as instructors and eventually place 2,000 youth into employment by the end of 2021.

Speaking at the launch of the partnership, the Chief Executive for Stanbic Bank Kenya, Mr Charles Mudiwa said, “We had set an initial target of 50,000 people in Kenya and will reach out to more in subsequent phases as we work to empower and uplift Kenyans to continue innovating themselves and to achieve their dreams.”

With many traditional jobs becoming tech-enabled, numerous institutions and organisations are shifting to digital-based operations to maintain the connection with their consumers and key stakeholders; this necessitates the growing youth population and MSMEs to arm themselves with digital skills.

“The digital landscape is transforming rapidly, and Kenya must adapt to the new changes to keep the citizens employable. The Kenya Government believes technology will play a key role in transforming the economy and creating employment,” the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Hon. Betty C. Maina stated at the launch of the partnership.

Mobile phone users pictured on their phones
Mobile phone users pictured on their devices

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The partnership served as a demonstration of the role the private sector can play in driving economic growth by partnering with government institutions. She welcomed the private sector to support the government’s efforts to advance the digital strategy, particularly with regards to Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development.

“This partnership between the Ministry, Stanbic Bank Kenya, and Microsoft will go along in enhancing the government’s investments in the capacity building and adoption of digital technologies which will give the country a competitive advantage,” she added.

Furthermore, the program caters to the need of adapting to the rapidly changing digital age has emerged due to the global labour market expected to dispense around 150 million new tech jobs over the next five years.

Kendi Nderitu, Country Manager at Microsoft in Kenya expressed, “At Microsoft, equipping citizens with adequate resources and technology so that they are able to upskill and reskill has always been at the centre of our work,”

“Particularly in the current landscape, securing partnerships with like-minded organizations such as Stanbic Bank Foundation and the Ministry makes complete sense if we are to reach and scale for maximum impact and successfully curb the impact of the pandemic.”

The program is a driving factor towards enhancing the employability of the youth due to the need for technical and soft skills development.

In addition, it will contribute towards helping the economy recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic due to job losses and the need for people to re-toll by building on their digital skills.

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