NAIROBI, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Several lobby groups representing Kenyan youth on Wednesday urged the government to come up with social safety nets in order to cushion this demographic from negative impacts of unemployment.
Speaking at a consultative forum in the coastal city of Mombasa, the lobby groups that included United Green Movement, Communist Party of Kenya and University Students Caucus said policy reforms were long overdue to promote economic empowerment for the youth amid pandemic related disruptions.
Moses Gichuho, chairman of United Green Movement, said that sound policies coupled with market relevant vocational training is the key to tackling youth unemployment in the country.
"The constitution obliges the government to enact affirmative action legislation and policies to tackle economic and social exclusion of the youth," said Gichuho.
The unemployment levels among Kenyan youth aged 18-35 who comprise 35 percent of the country's population stood at 7.27 percent in 2020, based on statistics from International Labour Organization (ILO).
Gichuho said those harmful cultural beliefs, inadequate training, lack of access to capital and red tape have stood out as major bottlenecks to youth empowerment, stressing that curriculum reforms combined with revamping vocational training is the key to ensuring the youth acquire market relevant skills besides enhancing their capacity to venture into entrepreneurship.
Kenya in 2019 launched the youth development policy that focuses on innovative ways to empower this critical demographic, including provision of digital skills and seed capital to start a business.
Agnetta Ingutsia, a university student leader, said regulatory incentives are required to encourage financial institutions to provide capital to youth-led start-ups and reduce unemployment levels.
Sialo Tasuk, the United Green Movement Youth leader, said Kenya should leverage demographic dividend to leapfrog into a knowledge-based economy that guarantees inclusive growth. Enditem