AT THE KENYA YMCA CENTRAL, NAIROBI ON 25TH NOVEMBER 2016
The General Secretary, the Africa Alliance of YMCAs
Senior Government Officials,
The Chairman, YMCA Kenya
The General Secretary, YMCA Kenya
Captains of Industry,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ladies and gentlemen, with profound gratitude, I extend my warm greetings to all of you and appreciation for inviting me to officiate the opening of the first career expo and beyond organised by the YMCAs.
As the biggest pan African youth movement in Africa, the YMCA has a pride of place for amplifying the voices and interest of young people.
In Kenya, YMCA has a century-long history, having been among the first youth organisations to be established in the country. It is therefore a privilege and honour to be associated with the YMCAs.
Ladies and gentlemen, this expo has been organised at a watershed moment in Africa. The continent is predominantly youthful and in a development phenomenon known as the youth bulge.
Young people have the energy, innovation, qualities and skills to combat unemployment and poverty. This demographic dividend, if tapped, will yield high returns for the continent. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Many young people are disproportionately excluded from many sectors of the economy.
When the youth cannot find employment and earn satisfactory income and when the barriers of entry into entrepreneurship are high, the youth will grapple with despondency and poverty. This, if undressed, could predispose countries to instability, criminal gangs and strife.
In Kenya, the government has prioritised young people through a number of policies, legislations and initiatives. Kenya recently passed the National Employment Authority Bill that bolsters the Article 55(c) and 56(b) of the Constitution by providing a legal framework for the State to take affirmative measures to ensure youth and marginalised groups access employment and economic empowerment. His Excellency the President has since signed the Bill into Law. The law establishes an Authority that will assume the functions of the National Employment Bureau whose mandate is to maintain a database for all jobless youth to facilitate their employment.
Ladies and gentlemen, in addition, through Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO), the government is prioritising young people and persons with disabilities in procurement opportunities.
In addition ladies and gentlemen, the government has reinforced the youth enterprise development fund (YEDF), one of the partners of this expo, to provide funding to youth enterprises. Moreover, the president recently launched the Presidential Digital Talent Programme, a Jubilee Government initiative aimed at empowering university graduates to master the digital environment. The programme mentors, inspires and breeds a new wave of digital trailblazers in the country. These initiatives are aimed at mainstreaming young people in the labour and entrepreneurship sphere.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Africa’s population growing at a blinding pace. About seventy percent of young people contribute to a thriving workforce. Ironically, most of these young people face unemployment and underemployment challenges arising from among others the mismatch of skills to available job opportunities. It is in this regard that the government welcomes stakeholders such as the YMCAs to bolster its efforts of empowering the youth to realise the aspirations envisaged in Vision 2030 blueprint. Young people need guidance as they make career and income choices in their lives. This youth Expo – CareerManenoz – is a great initiative that will undoubtedly mentor, inspire and guide young people in the labour market entrepreneurship.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government appreciates your initiatives and efforts of addressing youth unemployment and underemployment challenges. As the Speaker of the Senate, my office will always be open for likeminded and development conscious partners such as YMCA as we all aspire to make the world a better place. You can always count on my support and guidance in your endeavors.
I am encouraged that so many partners have come on board to support this expo. I urge you not to relent in accompanying and guiding young people in their career and entrepreneurship journey.
It is now my humble pleasure to declare this expo officially opened.
Thank you. God bless Kenya. God bless Africa.