Amani Katana the Executive Director at the Youth Empowerment Program Initiative (YEPI) in Kenya urges young men and women to embrace technology and entrepreneurship to tackle the high rate of unemployment in the country.
Katana spoke to the press at the 7th edition of the YEPI Entrepreneurship Summit running under the theme ‘Promoting Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Driver for Growth’ at a Hotel in Mombasa.
According to The Federation of Kenya Employers [FKE], overall unemployment in Kenya is at 12.7%, but Kenyan youth (15 – 34 year olds), who form 35% of the population, have the highest unemployment rate of 67%.
Young people are encouraged to embrace entrepreneurship which will result in economic growth instead of chasing after the elusive white-collar jobs.
Over one million young people enter into the labour market annually without any skills some having either dropped out of school or completed school and not enrolled in any college.
Katana says that the youth organization came into existence to address unemployment, poverty and violent extremism among the youth in the country. He believes that young people should use their initiatives and innovations rather than depend on public and private institutions for gainful employment.
Programs such as YEPI encourage young people who are in a vulnerable position to regain control of their own life through entrepreneurial skills.
The YEPI official noted that deliberate interventions supporting micro, small and medium enterprises are needed to cut down rising unemployment projections in the country.
“Entrepreneurship especially among the youth should be encouraged by all and sundry in order to reduce the high unemployment rate in the country,” said Katana.
According to Khadija Abdalla YEPI Programme Coordinator, the YEPI business summit is structured as a networking platform for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, corporate and government leaders who are committed to support and develop entrepreneurship ecosystems.
“The summit better informs our youths to have the mindset that they can move the nation forward by being entrepreneurs,’’ she said, adding that the forum brought together over 200 young budding entrepreneurs.
She says the YEPI summit goal is to empower young people interested in entrepreneurship by giving them the opportunity to learn new skills and to present their ideas for new ventures. She has implored young people to take a leading role in entrepreneurship activities in a bid to improve their lot noting that the aim of the conference was to find solutions to the unemployment situation in the country.
By Hussein Abdullahi, originally published on Kenya News.