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NATIONAL FORUM ON YOUTH EMPOWERMENT FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MSEA Director General Mr. Henry Rithaa represented the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Co-operatives and MSMEs Development Hon. Simon Chelugui as the Chief Guest at the official opening of the 5th National forum for Universities, TVETs and Agricultural stakeholders held at Egerton University Njoro.

The Director General spoke on the Government interventions in place through the Ministry of Cooperatives and MSME Development that are Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Youth Empowerment and National Development to address the pressing challenge of youth unemployment.

MSEA Director General Mr. Henry Rithaa speaking during the 5th National forum for Universities, TVETs and Agricultural stakeholders held at Egerton University Njoro.

These Government interventions covered include;

  1. Financial Inclusion Fund (Hustler Fund): Addressing lack of affordable credit for MSMEs, rolled out 2 products for individuals and collectives. As of 18th July 2023, HF Personal, Ksh. 33,229,448,474 has been disbursed, even more remarkable, a total of Ksh. 22,644,275,621 has been repaid, proving the Fund’s effectiveness and responsible financial management. The opted on customers are 20,721,791, while savings amounting to Ksh. 1,662,192,651. An incredible 7,251,883 repeat customers signify the Fund’s relevancy and continuous support to aspiring and established business owners alike. With a whopping 45,986,089 total transactions, the Fund is facilitating economic growth and driving prosperity across the nation. In the group product, an impressive 351,272 groups have been created, with 829,503 approved members and 34,293 complete groups. The Fund has enabled 28,493 groups to borrow and assigned limits to 6,127 complete groups, ensuring fair opportunities for growth. Ksh. 112,072,294 has been disbursed and 2,305 loan requests pending member approval. Unique borrowing groups are 16,543, with 226,859 members in these unique groups driving progress. In addition, the Fund encourages responsible financial practices with Ksh. 2,870,208 in total repayment and Ksh. 5,603,615 in savings, fostering a culture of financial stability and sustainable growth.
  1. Kenya Industrial Estates (KIE): Provides affordable finance (up to Ksh. 20 million) to MSMEs in manufacturing, focusing on value addition.
  2. Uwezo Fund: Empowers women, youth, and persons with disabilities at grassroots level by providing access to finances for businesses and enterprises.
  3. Youth Enterprise Development Fund: Offers affordable credit to youth-led businesses to mainstream their participation in economic growth.
  4. Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP): Provides business startup grants and training to under-served youth, scaling up to the National Youth Opportunities Towards Advancement Project targeting vulnerable youth aged 18 to 35 years in rural areas across all 47 counties in Kenya. The project aims to increase youth employability, provide business support, and create opportunities for savings to strengthen the capacity of national and county-level agencies to support youth employment and savings initiatives.
  5. Start-up Bill: Establishes a framework fostering innovative thinking and entrepreneurship, linking startups with private sectors, financial institutions, investors, and research organizations nurturing an environment where innovative thinking and entrepreneurship can thrive.
  6. Prioritized Key Value Chains: Focus on high-growth sectors like agro-processing, leather, textiles, milk production, edible oils, and construction materials to enhance cottage-level manufacturing and value addition.
  7. Constituency Industrial Development Centres (CIDCs): Support and promote value addition within strategic industries, upgrading through development partner support. The Small Business Administration (SBA) partnership with USAID is also a valuable resource, offering counseling and training to support business startups and expansions through the CIDCs.
  8. Post-Harvest Handling & Storage: Focused on reducing losses and enhancing value addition of agricultural produce, operationalizing cold storage facilities in Nyandarua, Meru, and Kisii counties. This will provide aggregation platforms for onward distribution.
  9. Affordable Housing: A priority project to create sustainable jobs and utilize youth MSMEs (known as “juakali”) as suppliers for housing materials.

Director General Mr. Henry Rithaa accompanied by Vice Chancellor Egerton University Prof. Isaac Kibwage interacting with exhibitors and Group Photo of delegates during the conference

The Director General Mr. Henry Rithaa called on the industry players in the private sector and academia to join the Government in creating platforms and networks that increase the meaningful participation of youth in national development to unlock their potential to become catalysts for sustainable development and a prosperous Kenya.

The Director General was accompanied by Chief Executive Officer Youth Enterprise Development Fund Mr. Josiah Moriasi, Vice Chancellor Egerton University Prof. Isaac Kibwage, Transforming African Agricultural Universities to Meaningfully Contribute to Africa’s Growth and Development (TAGDev) program Coordinator Prof. Nancy Mungai among other dignitaries.

Picture speak: Highlights from the conference

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