Some county governments have embarked on efforts to strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises in a bid to boost their contribution to job creation.
Kisumu County Executive for Business, Energy and Industry, Mrs Alice Moraa is now urging the small firms to join co-operatives to be able to benefit from the County Trade Fund.
Speaking while presenting a batch of cheques totalling Sh5.8 million to 70 individuals of small-scale businesses, the executive expressed the county’s commitment to supporting traders.
“We are appealing to the residents to diversify their businesses and tap from a myriad of opportunities available in the county,” she said during the event at the county offices on Thursday.
Mrs Moraa who issued cheques ranging from Sh50,000 to Sh100,000 said the county will issue additional Sh40 million to other business enterprises in this financial year.
“We are encouraging other traders to venture in other activities like poultry, cotton, dairy and sorghum farming for Kenya Breweries Limited among others,” she said.
In Kisii County, the move by the administration to install over 500 solar lights and 50 High-Mast Lighting spread across the county has raised stakes for businessmen.
This is in addition to at least 1,200 Kenya Power lamps managed by the county government fitted in the township.
The development under the Integrated Street Lighting Project is in three phases and aims at achieving a 24-hour economy.
Ms Mary Moraa, a fruit vendor at Nyamache junction, said with the lights, she can do business till late night.
“We are happy that we will extend our working hours courtesy of the streets lights. We feel more secure,” she told the Nation.
She said in the past, this would not have been possible as most parts of the markets were dark.
Some towns in rural areas could have shut businesses by around six or seven, but with the street lights, some will trade till morning.
For the night traders, the day is far from over.
Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi when touring some of the markets that have benefited from the programme said 75 marketplaces have already been lit.
“We will expand the project to 120 more markets,” he said as he lit the lamps.
Meanwhile, Kiambu is betting on training and equipping the youth with knowledge and skills on the best farming practices and value addition to create jobs.
The is being funded by the Italian Government. Dubbed, “reducing the adverse drivers of migration through local value chain development”, the initiative will for a start benefit 4,000 youth from the county, and is aimed at demystifying the notion that farming is a preserve of the old and uneducated.
The Sh600 million initiative was negotiated by Kiambu Woman Representative Annah Nyokabi when she was still in office, and is being implemented jointly by Kiambu government and Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations (FAO).
Italian Ambassador to Kenya Mauro Massoni, Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and Dr Gabriel Rugalema from FAO launched the initiative, which is expected to benefit from a sponsorship of Sh600 million from the Italian government, at Windsor Country Club.
Mr Mauro said by the end of the project which will be done in three phases, the targeted beneficiaries will have adequate skills in new agricultural ways, entrepreneurship and management skills.
The objectives, he said, is to ensure that there is increased returns in farming through innovations and value addition, saying it’s the only way to lure youth into the venture which locally, many youth perceive it as the preserve for the all and uneducated.
“The youth people do not have to move from their villages to urban areas search for jobs which are very scarce. They can engage in farming and rake fortunes, and this is what this project is all about,” Mr Mauro said.
Mr Rugalema said through the programme, FAO will provide the technical and financial assistance to the county government of Kiambu in the development of agriculture value chains that are attractive to the young people.
This, he said, will be done by directly supporting key policy processes in the area of value chain development and enhancing capacities of rural youth in agri-business to create alternative distress rural out-migration.
Though they are targeting 4,000 youth, Mr Rugalema said other players should invest in such initiatives to scale up the number of beneficiaries through collaborations, saying failure to invest in the youth will led to crime, conflict and other social economic problems.
Governor Waititu said the only way to lure young people, who he said form the large percentage of the population, is by training them on the best farming practices.
Ms Nyokabi advised the youth not to loathe farming, saying with application of the best farming practices, value addition and proper marketing, it can have fetch better returns.
By Ruth Mbula, Victor Raballa and Eric Wainaina