Nairobi — Businessman Chris Kirubi has called for the establishment of a youth bank which will improve access to credit for the quarter to thrive and become globally competitive.
Addressing participants at the National Youth Summit, Kirubi said the bank should be mandated with handling funds and assets meant for the empowerment of youths.
The two-day summit which was organised by Brand Kenya is meant to discover opportunity gaps and design ways to ensure that youths are considered equal partners in matters of peace, leadership and governance.
He said the youth are an economic asset that should be harnessed fully to leapfrog the country to a middle income economy.
"Let us fight to have our own institutions, where we can appeal to organizations like the World Bank and other institutions which like to support the youth, and they put this money in a ministry... there is a big gap where money comes in money doesn't come out. We need this money managed by the youth," he said.
Kirubi noted that Kenya has a dynamic youth population which should be tapped to propel the nation's economic, social and political transformation.
He said expanding income generating opportunities for the youth through the newly created 47 counties is critical to enhancing economic progress, social cohesion and political stability in Kenya.
"The youth of this nation have the numbers to take over the numbers of these counties. The youth must create their own institutions and dialogue with those leaders and make sure that those leaders such as the Governors, Senators, MPs and County Ward Representative do things the youth want done," he challenged the 1,000 youths attending the inaugural summit.
Kirubi emphasized on the need to overhaul curriculum in schools to enable the youth acquire both soft and technical skills that are needed in the modern job market.
"The emphasis should be how the youth can become job creators by optimally utilising their innovative and entrepreneur skills," Kirubi said.
He added that Kenya's demographic dividend presents an opportunity for growth of modern and knowledge based economy.
The Kenya Bureau of Statistics estimates that there are 19 million Kenyans who are part of the working population and the total unemployment population is 1.7 million, but 72 percent of them are under 30 years old and 51 percent are under 24.
An estimated 800,000 Kenyans enter the working age annually yet only 56,000 are absorbed in the formal job market.
It further puts the major causes of unemployment among the youth as rural to urban migration, school dropout cases, high expectations from employers and our current education system does not encourage young people to have entrepreneurial minds.