Kenyans sing and dance beside one of the first batch of locomotives for the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway in Mombasa, Kenya, on Jan. 11, 2017. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
NAIROBI, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Kenya should take a cue from China's model of harnessing youth bulge to promote socio-economic and cultural renewal, an expert has said at a forum in Nairobi.
Professor Maria Nzomo, the Director at the University of Nairobi's Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies noted on Monday that Beijing has set precedence in tapping the skills and entrepreneur spirit of its youth to drive progress.
"We should emulate China's approach to empowering its youthful population through creation of a conducive environment to enable them realize their full potential," Nzomo said on the sidelines of a forum on election preparedness.
Delegates attending the conference agreed that Kenyan youth can be a force for positive change subject to creation of a friendly environment that enable them participate in nation building.
Nzomo noted that youth empowerment through vocational training and employment is key to prevent social turmoil as Kenya heads to the polls in August this year.
She urged policymakers to involve the youth in programs that advances cohesion, sustainable development and peace.
At the same time, Nzomo reiterated that economic empowerment of the youth will cushion them from involvement in criminal activities like terrorism, robbery or election related violence during this election season.
"The government must create a platform to engage the youth in civic matters. Dialogue rather than confrontation will ensure our youth become peace ambassadors in this campaign season," said Nzomo, adding that the state should be on the look out to nip violent extremism in the bud as Kenya braces for a hotly contested general election.
Sino-Kenya bilateral cooperation in diverse fields like education, industrial and infrastructure development as well as cultural exchanges has benefitted the country's youth.
Nzomo noted that Kenya could borrow vital lessons from China's socialist model to instill noble ethos like patriotism, hard work and sacrifice among its youth.