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Empowering Kenya’s youth: Stakeholders convene to tackle youth unemployment crisis at NGEC summit

The Kenyan government’s youth policy has pinpointed key challenges including unemployment, underemployment, and poor working conditions as some of the major pressing issues among youths in the country.

Key youth influencers led by the State Department for Youth Affairs and Creative Economy converged at the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) Boardroom to find remedies to some of the pressing issue of youth unemployment in Kenya, with stakeholders delving deep into the challenges faced by the 15-34 age bracket that comprises 35 percent of the nation’s populace.

Speaking during the meeting, Mr. Daniel Seirberling, the resident representative of the Kenya Hanns Seidel Foundation, emphasized the imperative of translating governmental economic policies into tangible opportunities for the youth, thereby enhancing their livelihood prospects.

He stressed that true progress hinges on policies that resonate with the ground realities and authentically empower the burgeoning pool of young talent.

“Real progress can only be seen when policies reflect the realities on the ground and genuine youth empowerment undertaken,” said Seirberling.

Daniel Seirberling from Kenya Hanns Seidel Foundation addresses attendees at the meeting

The data unveiled at the pivotal gathering indicate that a staggering 67 percent of Kenyan youth are grappling with the harsh reality of joblessness, with the younger demographic (18-25 years old) facing a double impact compared to their slightly older counterparts.

With around 800,000 youth entering the job market annually, navigating through a landscape transformed by technological advancements like automation and artificial intelligence has become a daunting task.

Amidst this backdrop of uncertainty, hope shines through the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, emerging as a key player in offering opportunities to marginalized sections of the workforce, including youth, women, persons with disabilities, and those with limited education. By driving raw material production, value addition, innovation, and product distribution, MSMEs are creating job avenues both in urban centers and rural communities.

Noteworthy progress has also been made by the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Program (KYEOP) in combatting youth unemployment. Through tailored training, practical work experience, and support for entrepreneurship, KYEOP has impacted 30,000 individuals with business development services and disbursed over KSh 2.7 million in start-up capital, potentially generating 100,000 jobs.

A business plan competition under the program has further empowered 750 young entrepreneurs, with a potential for 3,000 new job openings.

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