The ENABLE Youth Kenya Program targets to engage partners to create an enabling environment for youth engagement in agribusiness, incubate and train the youth on bankable business ideas and finance their agri-businesses in a sustainable manner. These efforts have the potential of reversing rural-urban migration and mitigating youth disenfranchisement. Further, the Program aims to encourage growth of sustainable commercially viable agribusiness small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) by supporting the development of well-structured agribusiness projects, and providing commercial loans and other financial products/services available for investment in a range of agribusiness ventures, market access, capacity development, risk management, and networking support.
At present, 60 percent of Africa’s unemployed are young adults. The overall national unemployment rate of Kenya is around 10% while youth unemployment is as high as 35%, depending on the age group. According to a recent study, 80% of the currently unemployed are youth between 15 and 34 years of age (UNDP, 2013).
There is also a substantial problem of underemployment that does not support an adequate living wage. The agricultural sector, the backbone of Kenya economy and largest employer of labour, offers huge potential in providing solutions to the current problems of youth unemployment in the country. However, there are many challenges the youth face in the quest for earning a decent livelihood from agriculture and agribusiness. These include access to credit, land, requisite skills, markets, as well as other logistics and services for agribusiness development.
To address the challenge there is need to develop comprehensive programs and policies, which reach out to youth, changes their mind-sets and promotes agriculture as a business. Youth must be reoriented towards agriculture and agribusiness, while creating an enabling environment in which youth become proud owners of profitable agribusinesses.
The ENABLE Youth Kenya Program is well in line with Government of Kenya (GOK)’s long-term development goals, which are expressed in its Vision 2030 (2007-2031) and under the economic and social pillars of the Third Medium Term Plan (2018 to 2023).
The program is also in line with the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) which aims at increasing small-scale farmer, pastoralist and fisherfolk incomes; increasing agricultural output and value adding; and increasing household food resilience. Under the strategy, the Program will also endeavor to avail a knowledge and skills platform for youth in the sector. The program aims also to implement the Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy (2017 to 2021).
The private sector cannot effectively run the program in its entirety since the Program needs youth financing to be guaranteed. The government creates an enabling environment for youth empowerment in agribusiness, facilitates youth incubation and training, finances incubatee agribusinesses and de-risking the commercial financial institutions.