The youth have been urged to take advantage of existing legislation to tap into the growing digital economy.
Speaking during the 11th International Research Conference at Kabarak University yesterday, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi said the youth have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic compounded by joblessness.
The senator said the young generation, however, can take advantage of ground-breaking technological evolution to change their fortunes while taking advantage of existing legislation including the implementation of Digital Economy Blueprint which was launched in 2019.
The legislation gives youth a platform to create wealth and jobs by ensuring digital access.
“Despite the disruptions of Covid-19, the biggest opportunity the pandemic has provided to governments and businesses across the globe is digitisation,” said Mr Moi, who is also the Kabarak University Chancellor.
He observed that research plays a key role in finding solutions for the emerging challenges facing the economy especially in the face of the pandemic.
“Youth are represented with an opportunity to tap into the digital economy and can be a catalyst for inclusive development,” Moi said.
“I also commend the national government for allocating a large portion of the national budget to support education of Kenyan youth in both private and public universities and also to support research through National Research Fund,” he added.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru noted that the immense opportunities presented by technology and digitisation saying the youth must take a leading role in the digitisation race.
“We must scale, and scale fast, to allow us keep up with the speed of digitisation. In this race, it’s a free for all; if you fall by the wayside, nobody will stop to lend you a hand; you must fight for your place at the table,” Mucheru said.
He added that Kenya was among the first countries in Africa to identify the need for massive investments in high-speed internet infrastructure.
The high internet penetration, he says, has spurred more than 1.2 million youth to work online and earn in the gig economy, a figure he said is expected to rise to over 15 million by 2030.
“And it is not just a dream but something that we as a government are actively pursuing and in which so far we have made commendable strides,” he added. He added that the government has also provided 212 centres countrywide that form part of a support network for the youth.
Kabarak University Vice-Chancellor said the conference is one of those held by the seven faculties in the institution in line with their academic and research programs.
He said the institution is also preparing to review all the academic programs offered in the University to align them to the CBC system.