The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Poor Power Supply Hindering Job Creation - Report

Lack of sufficient power in lower-income countries is the biggest constraint to creating employment opportunities to the people.

A new report by International Finance Corporation, shows providing companies with reliable power could boost annual job growth by at least 4 per cent.

According to the survey in Sub- Saharan Africa, more than one fifth (22.3 per cent) of companies said access to power was their biggest obstacle.

The IFC study titled 'Assessing Private Sector Contributions to Job Creation' was released yesterday identified infrastructure constraints, low access to finance and poor skills as other job creation obstacles.

The World Bank estimates about 200 million people are unemployed globally and that 600 million jobs must be created by 2020, mainly in developing countries, just to keep up with population growth.

"Joblessness is a global crisis that is especially urgent in the poorest countries," said Jin-Yong Cai, IFC's executive vice president and chief executive officer.

The institution believes the answer lies with the private sector, which provides nine out of every 10 jobs. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were found to generate the most jobs in developing countries, though they are also less productive, pay less, and do not offer as much training and development opportunities for employees.

Access to finance is a key constraint for MSMEs and easing it can result in significant job creation by realising their full potential. "We believe that job creation offers the surest path out of poverty. Promoting it in developing countries is a top priority for us," Cai said.

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