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2.5 Million Kenyan Youth Looking For Formal Employment

May 12th 2011  – This was contained in a keynote address by the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Dr. Paul Otuoma MP, during the opening session of the Pan Commonwealth Conference on ‘Investing in youth employment : Explore Opportunities for Sustainable employment.

It was held at the Marlborough House, London on 9th – 10th May 2011.

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2.5 Million Youth Looking For Formal Employment
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Dr. Otuoma told the delegates; that unemployment or a poor employment record in the early stages of a young person’s career can harm job prospects for life, “A generation without hope for a decent employment can be a problem for families, the country and society at large.” He said.

The Minister emphasised that the Youth in Kenya form 60% of the labour force, but the majority of them are unemployed.

This youthful population is expected to increase from 16 million to 18million by 2012.  Currently in Kenya, there are about 2.5 million youth looking for formal employment and the number is likely to rise to 3.5 million by the year 2012 if necessary and innovative job creation initiatives are not taken now.

Dr. Otuoma noted that with a majority of youth having neither collateral property to secure bank loans to enable them start businesses, nor competitive skills to compete in the ever elusive job market, the youth have pegged all their hopes upon the Government for solution.

As a way of managing the problem, Dr. Otuoma told the conference, that the Kenya Government has since developed strategies to address the needs of the youth.  Those strategies include

  • -Building capacity and employment to equip youth to engage in productive activities;
  • -Creating employment opportunities;
  • -Providing the youth with necessary economic support;
  • Supporting initiatives that mould character;
  • -Strengthening programmes to advance youth health and wellbeing; and
  • -Giving the youth a voice to articulate their issues as well as participate in decision making.

The conference was primarily targeted to engage representatives of High Commissions of the Commonwealth member countries, members of the Commonwealth Youth Caucus Network, Young entrepreneurs, representatives of the G-20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, Global Youth Enterprise Networks, Member Governments, civil society organisations, YEN lead countries, World Bank, ILO, the corporate sector, financial institutions, CYP Regional Centres; and relevant divisions of the Commonwealth Secretariat committed towards Youth enterprise and employment.

In addition to the interactive panel discussion sessions, there were working groups’ sessions and presentations where delegates engaged with the leading experts in the field of youth employment and enterprise development for a meaningful dialogue and outcome.

Other key speakers at the conference included;

Herman Mulder – Senior Independent Advisor on ‘Green Financing’, Amsterdam, Markus Pilgrim – Manager and Task Leader Youth Employment Network, International Labour Office, Geneva, Mattias Lundberg – Senior Economist, World Bank, Washington D.C., Sara Elder-   Expert, Youth Employment, and S. Sridhar – Chairman and Managing Director- Central Bank of India, India.

Story By Kenya London News, Photo By Topi Lyambila

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