By Beth Ngugi
Barclays bank of Kenya has announced that it will invest Sh. 230 million in youth empowerment projects which will be rolled out under its shared growth agenda, in an initiative termed “Ready to work.”
Through this, 70,000 Kenyan youths will acquire the skills they need to attain economic independence.
Speaking during the program launch, Barclays Bank Kenya managing director Mr. Jeremy Awori noted that the shared growth agenda would be driven through three pillars; that is, Education and skills, Enterprise development and financial inclusion.
“With 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. In Kenya, young people aged between 0 and 35 years of age form more than 60% of the population. This is an asset, which if armed with the appropriate skills set has the potential to transform Kenya into an economic power house,” Awori noted.
Education and skills whose flagship program is ‘Ready to work’, prepares young people for the world of work by providing online courses on a range of people, work, entrepreneurial and money skills.
Enterprise development will help young people start, run and grow their businesses in order to generate income and employment.
Under the financial inclusion the bank will enter into partnerships to facilitate the development of technology that will promote inclusive banking models in order to increase access to financial services to the underserved.
Awori highlighted that their plans to offer solutions to some of the key societal challenges would be through commercial business models.
“As we grow the society prospers and as the society prospers we grow,” Mr. Awori quoted.
He added that they are investing in solutions that will ensure the society thrives socially and economically especially now that youth unemployment in Africa is a big issue that stands in the way of inclusive prosperity as well as the ‘Africa rising’ narrative.
In order to promote the youth empowerment agenda Barclays will partner with organizations like Shining Hopes for Communities (SHOFCO), Junior Achievement, Care Kenya, Techno serve, International Youth Foundation (IYF), Strathmore University and the University of Nairobi to drive the initiative.