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Kenya's unemployment rate stands at 12.7 pct

21 July 2014, 08:20

Nairobi - Kenya is in the process of developing a national employment policy as the country's unemployment rate currently stands at 12.7 percent, a senior government official said on Sunday.

The policy, which aims to create more job opportunities for the young Kenyan, is currently awaiting parliament's approval, Anne Waiguru, Secretary of the Devolution and Planning Cabinet, told a regional youth forum in Nairobi.

"Under the policy, all major investments and projects in the country will be subjected to systematic analysis to determine their employment creation potential before they are adopted for implementation," Waiguru said during the opening ceremony of the Eighth Extraordinary Youth Summit on International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

Waiguru said the unemployment rate currently stands at 12.7 percent and mostly affects the youth between the ages of 18-35 years, who account for over 30 percent of the total population in Kenya.

The five-day event brought the region's youth leaders and policy makers to examine the status of youth employment in the region as well as review ingenious interventions of addressing youth unemployment.

The 12 member states include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tanzania.

"All State departments are conducting analysis to determine the number of jobs they can create for the youth," Waiguru said.

She added that Kenya has been trying to put in place sustainable and dignified employment opportunities since it gained independence in 1963.

Government statistics showed that Kenya is experiencing a youth bulge as the youth population has grown from 3.3 million in 1969 to about 16 million at present

"A higher proportion of workers are found in the rural areas where employment opportunities are fewer, and access to information is low," she said.

"This has led to high rural to urban migration among young people, with resultant social and economic implications," Waiguru said.

ICGLR Executive Secretary Professor Ntumba Luaba said that the biggest challenge confronting the youth today in the region is creating youth employment.

"We should also draw more and more from the talents and creativity that accompany youthfulness," he said.

The executive secretary noted that the 12 states of the ICGLR have diverse experiences and approaches in dealing with youth unemployment.

 - Xinhua

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