Employment-Intensive Investment

Youth employment for sustainable development

Despite the sustained economic growth in the last few years, Kenya is still faced with acute socio-economic challenges including unemployment and poverty that is threatening to derail its efforts to achieve national as well as the millennium development goals. The Youth shoulder the blunt of these challenges with limited livelihood opportunities.
It is estimated that 64% of unemployed persons in Kenya are youth and only 1.5% of these have formal education beyond secondary school level. Moreover, over 92% have no vocational or professional skills training and therefore have limited chances of fully participating in the labor market.
The Government of Kenya acknowledges that poverty, unemployment and prevailing social imbalances are the most pervasive problems that the country is confronted with and it is committed to a broad-based policy reforms and programmes meant to address these challenges. These government initiatives were also supported by several development partners.
The ‘Youth Employment for Sustainable Development’ (YESD) is a joint initiative of the International Labour organization and the governments of Kenya and Japan. The YESD is intended to empower young women and men to participate in addressing the socio-economic challenges in their communities through providing them with marketable skills, decent jobs and business opportunities.
The YSED will also focus on winning the youth away from violence and conflict by providing them with alternative livelihoods. This in line with ILO/AU/IGAD Employment for Peace, Stability and Development Strategy, which calls for a holistic approach to employment as key to poverty alleviation.

Specific Objectives

  • Provide business development support to emerging youth owned SMEs
  • Create employment opportunities for unemployed youth in the urban and rural Kenya
  • Enhance the capacity of implementing agencies through knowledge transfers and skills upgrading
  • Initiate dialogue and build the capacity of relevant Government bodies on Green Jobs as a means of addressing the impact of climate change