The Development Concern
All economic forecasts indicate that over the course of the next few decades East African economies are poised to witness substantial economic growth; this progress will largely be driven by amongst other factors, a highly skilled work force and access to capital. Two demographic segments are set to play a prominent role in steering economies towards realizing this growth – the first is the youth (who comprise the bulk of the population), while the second are Medium and Small Business Owners.
The youth are in need of employment and self-employment opportunities. More importantly they are in need of skills that can match the needs of industry. On the other hand, many existing SMEs who have the potential to catalyze economic output suffer from business stagnation due to inadequate up-skilling and capital needed to grow their businesses and yield a higher quality of products and services.
A reading of the current situation reveals that the skills being acquired by today’s youth are not adequately matched with the needs of market place. Therefore, employment opportunities exist but cannot be filled because there is a shortage of workers in certain competencies. The blue-collar industry is a classic case in point, which has a shortage of skilled workers in trades such as plumbing, electrical works and mechanics, yet so many youth continue to go unemployed.
Addressing the concern
The KCB 2Jiajiri program seeks to address the concern highlighted above through the following:
Provision of technical skills scholarships for out of school youth aged 18-35 years (upskilling) and existing micro entrepreneurs (skilling)
Business development services and discounted asset and capital financing for the graduates of (a) above
Provision of market and industry linkages