Uhuru heads to Zambia Tuesday for continent’s annual financial meeting

Uhuru heads to Zambia Tuesday for continent's annual financial meeting

President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Tuesday make a one-day official visit to Zambia to speak at the annual meetings of the continent’s premier financial institution – the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).

The annual meetings, in their 51st year and being held in the Zambian capital Lusaka, will focus on energy, climate change, and growing jobs for youth.

Kenya is one of the globe’s leaders in green energy and President Kenyatta will lead a panel discussion on “The Path to Universal Access to energy in Africa by 2025”, drawing heavily from his own agenda to light up 70 per cent of Kenya’s homes by the end of 2017, and gaining universal access soon after.

Over the last few years, Kenya has scaled up its investment in renewable energy and last year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance ranked Kenya among the top 10 countries in the world that have made significant investments in renewable energy. The President recognises that investing in sustainable energy sources is, among other things, key to protecting Kenya and it’s people from the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

President Kenyatta will also lead a second panel discussion on “Jobs for African Youth: From Demographic dividend to Economic Dividend”. He will give his views on turning the African youth bulge into economic opportunity, and is expected to focus on mitigating the challenges hindering youth from participating effectively in Africa’s social, economic and political arenas.

Across the continent, young people remain Africa’s biggest asset. With the youth population poised to double to more than 800 million by 2050, a productive and innovative young workforce can potentially drive rapid economic growth and development in the coming decades. With a large chunk of its population being under the age of 30, Kenya stands to be among the biggest beneficiaries of strategic investments in youth.

At the moment, youth unemployment is a shared challenge for African countries. Some two-thirds of Africa’s youth are unemployed or vulnerably employed, a situation all stakeholders recognise as untenable and a threat to the stability and success of the continent.

President Kenyatta remains unwavering in his resolve to economically empower youth and government initiatives seeking to uplift youth include AGPO, which allows 30 percent of government procurement to go to youth, women and persons with disability.

The Jubilee administration’s heavy investment in tertiary education is also preparing youth to effectively engage the labour market. The President has also taken steps to create a favourable business climate that in turn opens up opportunities for all Kenyans, including youth, and the successes of those various initiatives are evident in the fact that the ease of doing business in Kenyan has improved.

More broadly, the Jubilee administration’s incredible investments in infrastructure, energy and regional cooperation are poised to yield a harvest of economic opportunities for all Kenyans.

However, the President also recognises that the challenges facing youth in Kenya can be better mitigated through the collective and collaborative efforts of the continent. Shared solutions include enhanced intra-African trade, shared investments in infrastructure, and a concerted and collective push to realise the outcomes outlined in Africa’s Agenda 2063. There are also lessons that African countries can learn from one another.

The President looks forward to engaging with leaders present in Zambia, in a way that sees a variety of viable solutions to the African youth challenge in Kenya and the continent at large.

The President will fly home immediately after this second panel discussion on youth.

On Thursday, the President will formally open the United Nations Environment Assembly at Gigiri, Nairobi.

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