President Uhuru Kenyatta says a partnership between the African Union and the European Union should culminate in concrete policies that will empower the youth.
“Investing in young people is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” said the President in a speech read on his behalf by Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki during the 5th African Union - European Union Summit in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
President Kenyatta said harnessing the demographic dividend in Africa would depend on the continent’s commitment to create sufficient job opportunities to absorb the rising number of new entrants in the job market. “We must not only aim at creating jobs for the youth, but also and more importantly, in building their capacities with appropriate skills, expertise and attitudes,” he said.
The President said diverse experiences in addressing youth unemployment in Africa should provide a strong orientation towards adopting the best practices in creating decent jobs and livelihoods. He said the African population had about 75 per cent of youths aged below 35 years. He said as the African population continues to grow, the proportion of those within the working age of 16 – 64 years of age will grow exponentially.
He said Kenya is implementing a number of policy and programmatic interventions in education, health, economic and governance sectors geared towards creating opportunities for youth and women.
“It is our firm belief that empowering these population segments is a critical part of harnessing a demographic dividend for long-term economic transformation,” he said.