President Uhuru Kenyatta says Government must work with the private sector to impart market-relevant skills to the youth, whom he identified as the bedrock of economic growth.
President Kenyatta told the World Economic Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, that it was necessary to make significant investments in young people — including in technical skills training, and curricula reform, to ensure that the youth were equipped to play their rightful role in economic development.
He said government had a massive role to play and was committed to doing so, but ultimately working with the private sector to grow jobs was a primary ingredient in driving economic growth.
The President said Kenya believes that youth are not a challenge but the greatest asset and opportunity the country and the continent has to harness for prosperity and is re-investing in technical training institutes to provide skills missing in the market.
President Kenyatta spoke at a panel discussion that also featured Cote D’Ivoire Prime Minister Daniel Duncan, International Monetary Fund First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton and Nigerian businessman Tony Elumelu.
President Kenyatta said Africa could not grow without focusing its attention on youth, and specifically, ensuring that young people were equipped with market-relevant education and skills.
“We should ask ourselves whether we are producing the right graduates from our learning institutions to fill the vacancies in the market. Are we matching the skills in the market and preparing youth to fill the gaps,” the President posed.
He said the government has unveiled its Digital Learning Programme to enable the young generation to acquire necessary technologically-driven skill critical to growth now and in the future.
“The laptops project being implemented in public schoolsensures relevance in the job market,” he added.
To boost intra-trade, the Head of State said Africa cannot trade with itself without infrastructure — including roads networks and sharing of electricity across the borders.
“The real benefits of intra-African trade include increased trade, global competitiveness, employment and higher incomes for the regions,” he said
President Kenyatta said Kenya was working with other countries within the East African community to ensure integrated road networks that facilitate movement of goods and people without hindrances.
He also said countries in the EAC region are working together on removal of all non-tariff barriers to trade and integration.
President Kenyatta had joined fellow Heads of Government, political leaders, business chiefs, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and academics at the WEF, which provides a platform of engagement on economic catalysts capable of driving radical structural transformation and strengthening public-private collaboration.
The leaders are expected to agree on strategic actions that can deliver shared prosperity across the continent under the theme “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation.”