The government’s focus on boosting skills in the informal sector is imperative for accelerating job creation and providing sustainable livelihoods for thousands of unemployed youths.

Peter Tena, the Kenya Internally Displaced Persons Patron, highlighted the significance of the informal economy, which comprises a substantial portion of the country’s economic landscape and serves as a major source of employment.

With approximately 84 percent of Kenya’s workforce employed in the informal sector, there exists a critical need for skills development to address this sector’s unique challenges.

Job growth in the informal sector far surpasses that of the formal sector, with estimates suggesting a rate four times higher.

Data from the Economic Survey 2022 underscores the dominance of the informal sector in job creation, with 80 percent of the over 900,000 jobs generated in 2021 originating from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Tena emphasized the importance of encouraging the Jua Kali industry, noting its low capital requirements for establishment and its potential to promote industrial decentralization and inclusive participation.

The micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) economy plays a pivotal role in absorbing new entrants into the workforce, with nine out of ten young people finding employment in this sector annually.

However, the lack of standardized skills in the informal sector poses a challenge in assessing existing skills and training requirements.

Despite the abundance of skilled workers in trades such as welding, plumbing, carpentry, masonry, and electrical work, the absence of formal certification hinders their recognition and engagement by contractors.

Tena expressed optimism about the National Industrial Training Authority’s (NITA) efforts to enhance training programs for craftsmen, aiming to equip them with pedagogical skills essential for effective training delivery.

The patron urged youth to embrace opportunities in the informal sector, stressing the need for financial inclusion and government support to foster growth in this vital segment of the economy.

In line with the Kenya Kwanza Bottom-Up Agenda, which prioritizes sectors like agriculture, MSMEs, housing, healthcare, and technology, Tena underscored the government’s commitment to job creation and economic transformation.

To achieve these goals, Tena emphasized the importance of creating an enabling environment for businesses through streamlined regulations, infrastructure development, investment incentives, and public-private partnerships.

By fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, harnessing technological advancements, and investing in key sectors, the government can unlock Kenya’s economic potential, reduce poverty, and enhance citizens’ quality of life.

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