KCB targets 2.5 million jobs with Sh50 billion youth plan

Thursday March 10 2016

Ms Eunice Njoki shows Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Chairman Ngeny Biwott (left), US Ambassador Robert Godec and KCB Group chief executive Joshua Oigara how she prepares pastry products during the launch of Youth Empowerment Programme by the bank at the Kasarani Safaricom Gymnasium on March 9, 2016. The initiative is expected to benefit at least 500,000 entrepreneurs in five years, creating at least 2.5 million direct and indirect jobs. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ms Eunice Njoki shows Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Chairman Ngeny Biwott (left), US Ambassador Robert Godec and KCB Group chief executive Joshua Oigara how she prepares pastry products during the launch of Youth Empowerment Programme by the bank at the Kasarani Safaricom Gymnasium on March 9, 2016. The initiative is expected to benefit at least 500,000 entrepreneurs in five years, creating at least 2.5 million direct and indirect jobs. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EDWIN OKOTH
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KCB Group has launched an ambitious Sh50 billion programme to create jobs for some 2.5 million youths in the next five years.

The enterprise development project aims to engage youthful entrepreneurs within the informal sector and ease the country’s unemployment burden said to be the worst in East Africa.

KCB Group chief executive Joshua Oigara said the programme titled 2Jiajiri, is expected to benefit at least 500,000 youths, providing them with vocational and enterprise development skills necessary to drive employment and wealth creation.

“The youth hold the greatest sway in the pace and trajectory that the East African economy will take into the future. We want to dignify the informal sector and give it the skills set needed to churn the next generation of businesses for the informal sector. The bank has set aside Sh10 billion annually in the next five years towards driving this enterprise development programme,” Mr Oigara said in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The funds will be used largely to support small and medium businesses run by the youth in selected sectors such as agricultural enterprise, automotive engineering, construction, beauty and domestic services.

The plan, which will be run through the KCB Foundation, will target 70 per cent of existing entrepreneurs, while the rest of the beneficiaries will be potential business people.

KCB Group Chairman Ngeny Biwott said the programme will boost the government’s plans to raise youth employment, potentially increasing the nation’s economic prospects.

“We believe that through partnerships with organisations, we can redefine the youth unemployment challenges we are facing,” said Mr Biwott. 

“We are committing to changing the youth narrative in the country,” he added.

Existing entrepreneurs will have their skills boosted and ideas formalised while upcoming ones will receive technical training, financial support for start-ups and business advisory services.

Already, 2,000 youths have begun classes in 89 institutions spread across the country for the various three to six months courses.

After training, graduates will be put under a 12-month incubation programme. 

Kenya’s ballooning youth population has failed to tap into their productivity, with the latest World Bank report saying one in every five citizens of working age has no job.