The unique nature of the COVID-19 crisis poses a new set of challenges to the youths as they reimagine recovery as it has worsened unemployment, interrupted education, and created additional challenges.
It is evident that urgent action is needed to pre-empt the long-term effects of the pandemic.
It should, however, not be lost on us that long before the pandemic struck, youths across the continent were facing challenges.
Africa-wide, the majority of youth do not have stable economic opportunities. According to data by the African Development Bank, a third of the continent’s nearly 420 million youth, are unemployed, another third are vulnerably employed, and only a sixth are in wage employment.
In Kenya, with over one million youths joining the labour market each year, the economy has not been able to provide enough employment opportunities.
In response to this, the KCB Group launched a youth enterprise development programme called 2jiajiri in 2015. The programme seeks to catalyse job and wealth creation for youth in the informal sector in Eastern Africa.
The objective of this programme aligns with the shared value concept as the Foundation funds the training of the youth and empowers them to set up businesses and become customers of the Bank.
The Foundation works with the Bank to offer continuous businesses training, mentorship, and enterprise management support interventions.
With the programme reaching over 34,000 youths in Kenya and Rwanda, it has attracted other partners, notably Mastercard Foundation.
A partnership with Mastercard Foundation – Young Africa Works— is expected to create over 1.5 million job opportunities in Kenya over the next five years.
The Group believes that our long-term success can be achieved by creating value for both our shareholders and society and our shared value programmes make a difference to our communities while contributing to our success.
By Judith Sidi Odhiambo, KCB Group