Reducing unemployment remains a key focus of the Government’s job creation policies. This is primarily due to the bulging numbers of unemployed youth in the country, a situation that policy makers concur could lead to enhanced social tensions in the national fabric.
Official data place average unemployment rate in Kenya at 12.7 per cent. Of the unemployed Kenyans, about 61 per cent are youths. To address the issue of youth unemployment, the Government has put in place a raft of interventions, the most prominent being the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and Kazi Kwa Vijana (KKV) Project.
Apart from disbursing funds to youth enterprises, majority of them run by groups, and training youth on entrepreneurship, the fund facilitated about 6,000 youth to obtain employment abroad through the Youth Employment Scheme Abroad (YESA). (See Sports and Youth Affairs chapter).
Kazi Kwa Vijana
The ‘Jobs for the Youth’ project em- ploys youth in both urban and rural public works projects. It is managed by a National Steer- ing Committee chaired by the Prime Minister and made up of ministers and permanent secretaries in involved ministries to guide the implementation of the initiative, envisioned to employ up to 300,000 youth.
KKV specifically targeted young unemployed men and women. The first phase employed about 50,000 youth who were engaged in menial work within their communities, such as repair of bore holes, clearing of bushes and access roads, planting of trees, repairing of road drainages, construction of dams, and building of water kiosks.Other duties included implementation of waste management systems, repair of pavements, construction of foot paths and small bridges. About Sh4 billion was allocated for this phase.
KKV is supported by the World Bank under a broader Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP) aimed at boosting temporary employment for young people through labour- intensive menial jobs, and raising the employability of the more skilled individuals. The latter involves private sector internship and training, and capacity building and policy development. The labour-intensive component supported KKV and got allocated World Bank funding of US$ 43 mil- lion (about Sh3.7 billion). The other two components, to be implemented by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports respectively, were allocated $15.5 million (Sh1.3 billion) and $1.5 million (Sh130 million).