Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua today launched the Kenya Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (K-YEEAP), a youth employment solution by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA). Through K-YEEAP, KEPSA will identify new and under-served sectors with the potential to generate at least five million decent and sustainable jobs by 2027.
The program aims to support the growth of 200,000 small businesses while catalyzing the development of 10,000 start-ups through the creation of 47 County Business Hubs. To accomplish this KEPSA will use its industry knowledge and access to the supply, policy and demand sides of the labour market to facilitate access to finance and markets, business coaching and mentorship while creating linkages for small businesses with large companies’ supply chains.
KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki says K-YEEAP will pursue relevant and market-oriented skills for industry transformation by closely collaborating with the Technical and Vocational Educàtion and Training (TVET) ecosystem. K-YEEAP, she added, will also support public sector digital transformation for effective service delivery and job creation, increase digital and digitally-enabled job opportunities for young people, and help small businesses with their digital transformation.
“The main goal of KEPSA is to encourage economic development and job creation in Kenya,” Ms Kariuki says. “This initiative aims to address barriers to youth employment such as demand and absorption capacity creation, given the dual challenges of a growing youth bulge and the systemic bottlenecks that youth face when entering the labour market.”
Mr Gachagua said youth unemployment, currently standing at 38.9%, was a key concern for the Kenya Kwanza government, noting that over the years, the economy had not matched the demand for jobs in the country. “Seventy-five percent of our population below the age of 35 is a big blessing to this nation,” he said. “These young people want to actively participate in the development of this country, and to be at the centre of decision-making.”
Noting that about 5.3 million young people are unable to find decent employment in Kenya, the deputy president said the Ksh50 billion Hustlér Fund will be used to provide opportunities for trade and capacity building for youth as capital in developing and growing their enterprises.
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K-YEEAP proposes to support demand-driven vocational and technical training, on-the-job learning, and real job opportunities for youth and women while also accelerating the adoption of digital technologies as a tool for job creation and economic transformation. “Internet penetration in Kenya is one of the best in Africa. Kenya cannot, therefore, afford to be left behind in the digital revolution in creating opportunities for our young people,” Mr Gachagua.
K-YEEAP interventions will include opportunities for the identification of job linkage platforms in the digital economy, skills and enterprise development and employment placement initiatives. Along with promoting and coordinating private-sector TVETS, the program will also connect academia and industry for technical assistance and capacity building, policy and research advocacy as well as the dissemination of labour market data like work and career readiness.
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