KEPSA partners with Absa Bank Kenya to empower one million youth in the digital economy
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has today announced a partnership with Absa Bank Kenya to empower over one million young Kenyans with digital online job opportunities .The partnership tends to merge their respective youth programs, Ajira Digital and Ready to work to enable them to effectively reach their end goals. The bank will provide work-readiness skills training through its existing Ready-to-Work program, while leveraging KEPSA’s network to build linkages and alliances that will enable enterprises to outsource work.
Absa Ready to work project provides a platform to engage Kenyan youth and help them materialize their careers through skills training and mentoring platforms from industry and marketplace experts. Whereas the Ajira Digital Program is a project of the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth, aimed at positioning Kenya as a choice labour destination for multinational companies as well as encourage local companies and public sector to create digital work opportunities for young people.
Absa’s Managing Director Jeremy Awori reiterated the bank’s commitment to supporting Kenyan youth through the partnership with the Ajira Digital Program.
“The partnership with KEPSA through the Ajira Program that we are launching today is in line with our ongoing efforts in this critical area of youth empowerment. We hope to establish digital and technologically enabled job opportunities through this agreement, with the goal of connecting one million competent youth to these opportunities. Youth empowerment, we believe, is a catalyst for positive social change in our communities and a tool that brings to light the potential that exists in every one of us. Hence, why education and skills are one of the strategic pillars of our Corporate Citizenship Strategy,” added Awori.
The partnership comes after research done during the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic stated that the unemployment rate among young people in Kenya increased in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the previous quarter. In the age group between 20 and 24 years, the rate stood at 16.3 percent, up from 15 percent in Q4 2020. Among young people aged 15 to 19 years, the unemployment level grew to nearly seven percent, after reaching the lowest level at 2.8 percent in Q4 2020.
KEPSA’s Chief Executive Officer Ms. Carole Kariuki noted that with least one million young Kenyans entering the job market each year, the economy has not been able to provide the required number of employment opportunities to sustain the high entrants witnessed. With such alarming statistics, it is therefore within the mandate of the private sector that provides around 90 per cent of employment, for both formal and informal jobs to support with interventions that will address this ‘youth burden’ before it gets out of hand.
“This partnership provides an opportunity where youth from our ongoing interventions like the Ajira Digital project can access the much-needed employability skills as well as open up job linkage opportunities. We hope that through our various engagements and activities that we will be conducted in line with this partnership we can unlock thousands of jobs to young people in the creative industry as influencers and content creators,” remarked Kariuki.
The collaboration also aims at improving government skilling and youth empowerment to tackle unemployment among the youths.
‘’It is for this reason, consequently, that KEPSA through her social arm KEPSA Foundation and with the partnership of over 1,000,000 businesses from all sectors of the economy are working to equip the Kenyan youth with skills, work opportunities and also to provide the industry with a pool of skilled workers to drive the growth and competitiveness of our economy, ’said Carole.