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President Uhuru Kenyatta pledges millions of jobs within five years

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who is seeking his re-election pledged on Sunday to create about 6.5 million extra quality jobs, especially for the youth, over the next five years.

Kenyatta, who held a live chat on his official Facebook page where he answered questions from Kenyans about his administration’s action plan, said that he has put in place an Action Plan for more jobs and lower prices that will build on the progress from the last four years into real benefits for all Kenyans.

"My Action Plan will transform the progress we have made over the last four years, into real benefits for all Kenyans.

"Over the next 5 years, my government will create 6.5 million extra quality jobs, especially for the youth," Kenyatta told his three million Facebook followers.

The live chat which lasted about 45 minutes, saw Kenyatta who is seeking another five-year term, discuss a variety of topics including corruption, security and the Aug. 8 polls.

"We all have to play a role in the fight against corruption and I am committed as an individual and a President to fighting corruption," he said.

Kenyatta underlined his commitment to fight the vice and urged the judiciary to play its part in ensuring that justice is served to the culprits.

He also urged Kenyans to be alert and play an active role in fighting graft, saying the war against corruption will succeed if all citizens are involved.

"My government is the first to set up a multi-agency team to curb corruption, which has always been present over the years," he added.

Kenyatta pledged to beef up security before, during and after the August elections, calling on all Kenyans to uphold peace and live together in harmony.

"All Kenyans must adhere to the principles of unity, democracy and peaceful coexistence especially as we prepare for this general election," he said.

"We roundly and loudly reject the politics of division and incitement.

"No matter the results of the election, we must love one another as we love ourselves," Kenyatta added.

The live online conversation, the first of its kind, presented Kenyans the opportunity to hear the president talk directly about his Action Plan.

"I want to have a candid conversation with all Kenyans, a conversation about the progress we have made and the policies for the future, not politics and power-games," Kenyatta said.

He pointed out that over the last four years his administration has built the foundations for prosperity and created over 2.5 million new jobs by investing in infrastructure, roads, rail and electricity to support job-creating businesses and help farmers deliver their produce to market.

"We have ensured more Kenyans have access to quality education and health care. And we have taken the fight to Al-Shabaab to make this country safer for every Kenyan family," the president said.

He noted that many Kenyans were still struggling, saying that he will deliver his transformational plan because he has already built the foundations for prosperity and only needs the next five years to finish the job.

"Many of our youth who study and work hard can’t find jobs, high food prices still leave many families hungry, and our manufacturing sector has not yet delivered enough new jobs and higher wages," the president said.

He assured that in the next five years his administration will continue to invest in infrastructure, education and training, small enterprises and a 21st Century high-tech economy that will drive prosperity and job creation for all.

"With my Action Plan, I will take immediate action to ensure that this progress means a lower cost of living for you and your family, Kenyatta assured Kenyans.

He reiterated his directive to foreign contractors that they must to employ locals in their projects.

President Kenyatta said by investing in farming and markets, transport and trade, his administration has been able to build the foundations for food security, protection against drought and better transport links for food delivery.

He vowed to connect the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), roads, electricity to what he said will be massive creation of jobs.

"We have a plan to build a light rail network in Nairobi, extend the SGR to Naivasha to Narok, then through to Kisumu," he said.


Kenya joins UN-backed initiative to spur entrepreneurship

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya has joined the United Nations-led program that helps promote entrepreneurship by building capacity for small businesses around the globe.

Under the Empretec program launched in Nairobi, the East African nation will be able to derive significant benefits from the integration and skills development of its large, yet unproductive, informal sector.

"Empretec can therefore play a central role in inspiring entrepreneurship and developing the right skills to start and grow MSMEs, thus stimulating economic growth through job creation, helping formalize businesses, creating opportunities for and thereby empowering disadvantaged groups such as youth and women, and strengthening local productive capacity," UNCTAD’s Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi said.

Empretec is UNCTAD’s flagship capacity-building program coordinated from Geneva, Switzerland, by its Enterprise Branch of the Division of Investment and Enterprise.

The program focuses on developing countries and economies and transitions. Besides promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing productive capacity, it also seeks to boost the international competitiveness of MSMEs.

Kenya’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Adan Mohamed said the country’s Vision 2030 strategy, adopted in 2007, acknowledges the need to support the informal sector to raise productivity and distribution, jobs, owners’ incomes and public revenues.

"We thank UNCTAD for the opportunity and support to establish an Empretec Centre in Kenya.

"The centre will go a long way in developing and promoting Entrepreneurship in the Country.

"We foresee graduation of many MSMEs from informal to formal enterprises.

"This will be good for the country," Mohamed said.

The program is implemented through its National Centres, established in 39 countries.

Since its inception in 1988, Empretec has successfully trained more than 420,000 people, helping them to found or expand businesses, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.

According to UNCTAD, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are key engines of economic growth.

They make a significant contribution through outputs, employment, job creation and innovation.

In Kenya, such enterprises play a key role in economic development, contributing 33.8 percent of GDP and 81.1 percent of employment opportunities, according to the 2016 National MSME Survey.

However, 98 percent of businesses in Kenya are estimated to be in the informal sector, with most run by young people aged between 18-35 and women.

Kenya seeks US $45 million dollars to bridge digital divide

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya requires 45 million U.S. dollars in order to achieve universal access for communications services, telecommunication industry regulator has said.

Francis Wangusi, director general of Communications Authority of Kenya, told a media briefing in Nairobi that currently 94.4 percent of the country’s population has access to at least basic voice and Short Messaging Service (SMS).

"Kenya is therefore seeking 45 million dollars in order to reach the unserved and underserved areas that were left out during the liberalization of the communication sector," Wangusi said during the inauguration of the council members of the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC).

Wangusi said that Kenya has set a target of achieving full connectivity for the entire population in the next five years.

The East African nation is currently instituting measures geared towards bridging digital divide in the country. "One of the milestones in the last financial year 2016/17 was the operationalization of the Universal Service Fund," Wangusi said.

The kitty which was established to reduce the digital divide for Kenyans, acts as an incentive for attracting operators and service providers to rural and high cost areas through provision of subsidies and grants.

The regulator said that a financial model will be developed to calculate the subsidy levels required by an operator to roll out services in unserved and underserved areas.

The Fund is also expected to support Information Communication Technology innovation and development of content and applications in addition to supporting capacity building in the country.

According to the director general, regions that are sparsely populated and or have inadequate road infrastructure are most affected by lack of telecom services.




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