Only innovation can give youths jobs, says CS Joe Mucheru

ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs CS Joe Mucheru. [David Njaaga, Standard]

ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has called on county governments to embrace the value of innovation and entrepreneurship as a means of addressing youth unemployment.

Mucheru urged the youths in Kiambu to take advantage of the opportunities the government is offering through the Studio Mashinani Project that provides an opportunity for them to develop their creative talents and earn from it.

“Our youth must be empowered with skills geared on shifting their mindsets from job seekers to job creators and owners of capital,” said Mucheru.

He said youth must be encouraged to exploit their talents and seek to provide solutions to the ever-present challenges facing the country.

He listed unemployment, food security, national security and health among the challenges.

Mucheru was speaking in Kiambu on Thursday during the first Edition of Kiambu County Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week at Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (Jkuat).

Kiambu Chief Officer for Youth, Innovation and Communication Erick Keriko said the innovation week is the first of its kind in the county considering the youth in the area and the country generally have become very innovative.

He said the county government has set aside Sh138 million and another Sh1.3 billion from KCB Bank as grants for innovators.

“The main challenges with our youth is capital, of course, they don’t have land to set up industries or collateral for a loan, this Innovation will unlock their potential, we shall nurture,” he said

Francis Kamanga, 21, a security innovator from Ndeiya, Limuru, said the major challenge has been capital to set up business and buy equipment.

Mucheru said the government is determined to create a conducive environment for innovation and business growth through friendly policies for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

“If, as a county, we do not appreciate the value of innovation and entrepreneurship, we will lag behind as others innovate. We must therefore be deliberate in encouraging our young people to proactively take up new risks in entrepreneurship. The journey may be rough but certainly has a reward for the courageous ones,” Mucheru said.

He further said that the government has invested heavily in supportive infrastructures such as high-speed internet, road networks, electricity connections, Ajira Youth Empowerment Centers and high quality basic and tertiary education.

Mucheru revealed that the ICT ministry has been working with MPs and the National Government Constituency Development Fund Board to create centres in constituencies where youth can access free high-speed internet as well as digital devices.