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Kibaki admits State cannot create enough jobs

BUSINESS
By | March 3rd 2010

By Beauttah Omanga

The Government is overwhelmed by the large number of job seekers, President Kibaki has said.

The Head of State said a fresh approach to address the plight of jobless youth was necessary to cope with the high demand for jobs.

He said the high number of young people who were unemployed undermined their wellbeing.

"It results in dependency and a vicious cycle of poverty, social ills and lack of dignity and self esteem among the youth’ said Kibaki.

He added: "In addition to this, lack of employment among the youth is a significant opportunity cost which impacts negatively on the socio-economic development of our country."

The President lamented amid concerns by the youth that they were not being absorbed in the job market. Their hopelessness was further compounded by the Government’s decision to extend the retirement age of civil servants from 55 to 60, a move that has been criticized by the youth.

Main challenge

Kibaki said the Government’s main challenge is how to ensure the large number of jobseekers was engaged productively.

"We need to improve their personal well-being as well as enable our youth to contribute to national development," he said.

The President spoke yesterday at Safari park Hotel at the launch of the Youth Employment and Employment Initiative summit.

Others who addressed the summit were Youth Minister Hellen Sambili, Africa Nazarene University Vice Chancellor Leah Marangu, US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Rannerberger and Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi.

The US envoy said Kenya would only achieve Vision 2030 if it invested heavily in the education of the youth.

President Kibaki challenged the participants to identify barriers to youth employment and seek ways to empower the youth. "Think creatively about solutions to the barriers our youth face in getting employed," he said.

The President disclosed the youth aged between 15 and 30 were about 14m and accounted for more than 36 per cent of the Kenyan population.

Kibaki said 500,000 youth graduate from institutions of learning annually and of the number, 92 per cent have informal education but no vocational skills training.

He said 750,000 youth are added to the job market annually.

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