KCB to extend youth empowerment drive to East Africa markets

KCB Group CEO Paul Russo and Trust Merchant Bank SA (TMB) Oliver Meisenberg during the final sign-off ceremony event. [File, Standard]

KCB Group is scaling up its youth empowerment and job creation programme - 2Jiajiri - in Kenya as it also looks to extend it to other regional markets where the lender operates.  

KCB Foundation will initially expand the programme to Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda before rolling it out in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo later this year. Launched in 2016, the 2jiajiri programme has created over 119,000 jobs. It focuses on formalising the informal sector and growing micro-enterprises to a place where they can employ an average of five other young people.

To date, 22,959 youth have received technical and entrepreneurial training and Sh259 million in loans to set up businesses. The Foundation, in partnership with the German government — implemented by GIZ— on Friday graduated 3,500 beneficiaries in the construction sector at an event that was graced by President William Ruto.  

“We are deliberate and committed to changing the youth story by creating more jobs working with corporates and other partners. We will incorporate the youth in all government projects, beginning with the housing agenda that seeks to create opportunities for one million youth,” said President Ruto at the event in Nairobi.  

The 2Jiajiri programme aims at creating at least 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs while helping to set up 30,000 businesses over the next five years. “We are giving youths what they deserve, to dignify the informal sector; which we believe will boost their morale in contributing to East Africa’s growth agenda," said KCB Group Chairman Dr Joseph Kinyua.

"Access to skills and finances will help them buy tools and acquire knowledge that will give them dignity in their work. We are looking at raising the next generation of highly skilled and reliable masons, electricians, carpenters, hairdressers and mechanics among other trades.”  

The graduating youth were trained in the building and construction sector courtesy of a three-year regional partnership between GIZ’s Employment for Skills Development in Africa (E4D) Programme, and the KCB Foundation.  

“We are seeing a growing crop of bright-eyed young entrepreneurs whose passion is contagious and whose perspective of the world and the future is always exciting. We are giving them meaningful opportunities to start and grow their business," said KCB Group Chief Executive Paul Russo.

Locally, the KCB Foundation-GIZ programme has resulted in the creation of 1,257 businesses, 7,272 jobs directly and indirectly, supporting over 10,000 households. 

“We leverage an integrated approach that includes upskilling to make small and medium-sized businesses more competitive so that they can meet the growing demand for supplies and services in the market. Our goal is to generate more decent and sustainable employment in East Africa,” said GIZ E4D Kenya Team Leader Thomas Jaeschke.

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