The biggest problem in Kenya since Moi ruined the economy has been Youth Unemployment. President Kibaki under NARC promised to provide more than a half a million jobs each year but politics could not let him deliver the promise. Then Jubilee took over with a promise to create one million jobs each year but there is nothing to show as Unemployment rate is still well over 40% since they took office in 2013. Compare this to the Western world where citizens will cause havoc when unemployment rates surpass 10%. To help do something about the silent time bomb, Barclays Bank of Kenya has launched a Citizenship Investment Agenda (Shared Growth Agenda) in which the bank will invest shs 230 million with an aim of providing 70,000 Kenyan youth with the skills they need to attain economic independence.
The Shared Growth Agenda will be driven through three pillars- Education and Skills, Enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion.
Under Education and Skills, the bank will equip the next generation with the skills and development they need to secure employment. ReadytoWork is the flagship programme under this pillar and prepares young people for the world of work by providing online courses on a range of people, work, entrepreneurial and money skills.
The second pillar under shared growth is Enterprise Development under which Barclays Bank of Kenya will help young people start, run and grow their businesses in order to generate income and employment. Under the Financial Inclusion pillar, Barclays will enter into partnerships to facilitate the development of technology that will promote inclusive banking models in order to increase access to financial services to the underserved.
“Youth unemployment in Africa is a big issue that stands in the way of inclusive prosperity and the ‘Africa rising’ narrative. We are therefore investing in solutions that will ensure that the society thrives socially and economically,” said Mr. Jeremy Awori, Managing Director, Barclays Bank of Kenya.
“Under the Shared Growth Agenda, we plan to offer sustainable solutions to some of the key societal challenges through commercial business models because we believe that as we grow, society prospers and as society prospers, we grow,” he added.
With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. In Kenya, young people aged between 0 and 35 years of age form more that 60% of the population. This is an asset, which if armed with the appropriate skills set has the potential to transform Kenya into an economic power house.
Barclays Bank of Kenya will therefore partner with 7 organisations that promote the youth empowerment agenda to drive the initiative. These are Shining Hopes for Communities (SHOFCO), Junior Achievement, Care Kenya, Technoserve, International Youth Foundation (IYF), Strathmore University and the University of Nairobi.
“Rapid urbanisation in the continent presents unique opportunities that require innovative solutions. Business solutions and Private Public Partnerships are therefore required to help address social issues and deliver the Africa Rising agenda. Through the Shared Growth Agenda, we plan to offer sustainable solutions to some of societal challenges through commercial business models,” added Mr. Awori.