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MasterCard, State unveil Sh100b jobs creation plan

Fred Aminga @faminga

The Government and MasterCard Foundation yesterday unveiled a Sh100 billion public-private partnership (PPP) aimed at unlocking employment opportunities for Kenyan youths.

To be rolled out jointly by Equity Group and KCB Group, the initiative intends to generate five million jobs in the next five years by supporting growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with credit and training while opening up digital jobs.

Speaking while presiding over the event in Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the deal with MasterCard Foundation and the private sector will steer millions of youths into employment and economic growth.

“Together they will provide approximately Sh100 billion in linkages and eliminate barriers limiting to jobs,” Uhuru said. This will include financial and digital literacy to ensure that SMEs are supported and mentored “to grow and expand markets”.

Kenya’s economy leverages SMEs for 90 per cent of its growth and this partnership will provide very good leverage.Mastercard Foundation said it plans to work closely with technical colleges and linking the youth to the job market. It will also create jobs by supporting SMEs through access to funds and training.

“Young entrepreneurs need access to finance and mentorship, and importantly, the right exposure to domestic and international markets to generate revenue and provide job opportunities for other youth in the country,” said Reeta Roy, MasterCard Foundation Chief Executive Officer.

“We have KCB and Equity, but more private sector players will also come on board,” she said.

Tap the graduates

To make it sustainable, the Foundation will also collaborate with the Ministry of Education to support the strengthening of technical and vocational education and training institutions (TVETs) to improve the employability of graduates, while working closely with the private sector to tap the graduates.

The deal will see the Foundation on the one hand and Equity Group and KCB Group, with their foundations, on the other hand providing the logistics required for uptake.

“Equity Foundation will support about 600,000 SMEs over five years in business development services to formalise their businesses and create linkages to get them into the supply chain of corporate,” Equity Group Chief Executive Officer Dr James Mwangi said.

“We believe each of the 600,000 SMEs will create about five jobs each,” he added.Banks will also provide financial and digital literacy and entrepreneurship training to micro, small and medium enterprises, (MSMEs) to support owners to grow and sustain their businesses and to mentor other entrepreneurs in the network.

TVETs will be positioned to improve quality of content and provide 21st century employability skills and demand-driven training. It will also create opportunities for graduate trainees, internships and apprenticeships.

Digital skills training

In conjunction with Kenya Private Sector Alliance, innovators such as eMobilis and Moringa School will also provide digital and professional skills training in software development and data science.This is expected to enhance access to locally available digital and digitally-enabled jobs.

The project which is part of MasterCard Foundation dubbed “Young Africa Works in Kenya” will also support expansion of the Ajira Digital programme, which will provide digital skills training and mentoring to youths. It will go a long way to enhance the creation, growth, sustainability and productivity of over 200,000 MSMEs.

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