Lobby group challenges government to tackle youth unemployment

The Youth Congress of Kenya is urging the government to focus on job creation and opportunities for youth.

Mr. Raphael Obonyo, co-founder of The Youth Congress is expressing concern over unemployment in Kenya saying it is a big burden to many young people.

“The most urgent task facing Kenya today is to create opportunities for the youth. Leaders must prioritize creating jobs and opportunities for the youth” he said.

He was speaking after the Youth Congress, in partnership with Kenya Community Development Foundation, presented equipment and tools to youth groups in Korogocho, Mathare and Mukuru.

Youth form about 60% of the total labour force in the country, but a majority, about 70% are unemployed. With over 1 million entrants joining the labour force annually, things are expected to worsen. It is also lamentable that most of those that are absorbed in the labour market end up doing jobs that do not match their professional qualifications or career aspirations.

“Over the years, successive governments have developed programs to tackle the issues of unemployment but not commensurate to the gravity of the problem. A culture of entrepreneurship and creativity is now needed to cure abject poverty among the youth. This can be done by establishing more incubation centres, support the youth in accessing finances, training and markets, and create a supportive policy for Small and Medium Enterprises and startups.”  Mr Obonyo stressed.

This he says can be boosted by enhancing funds available for youth, provide a market by procuring more from the youth and most importantly paying for government supplies both at county and national levels without unnecessary delays to enable the youth businesses to remain afloat.

“Ultimately, it is incumbent upon government to make good use of the country’s demographic dividend – deep pool of youth talent, energies and creativity.  Noteworthy, young people under the age of 35 years account for about 80 per cent of the total population.” The Public Policy Analyst told the youth.

“For Kenya to make real progress, it is imperative that government provides young people with opportunities to build decent livelihoods and be integrated into the growing economy.” He cautioned.

Nelmo Munyiri, Executive Director of Mukuru Youth Initiative (MuYI) thanked The Youth Congress for coming up with such a noble initiative to promote entrepreneurship and support youth in addressing unemployment, saying the agenda strikes at the heart of job creation in the country.

“Youth must be part of the solution and devise various positive means to tackle unemployment, especially in the informal settlements. The work that The Youth Congress is doing is so important, to support young entrepreneurs in terms of mobilizing resources, skills development, training, resources, grants and bringing development partners and private sectors along as we, and mentoring. So this is very much important” .

  

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