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Kenya to Host Inaugural Green Jobs and Skills Development Workshop to Tackle Youth Unemployment

Kenya is set to host its first-ever National Green Jobs and Skills Development Workshop on 3rd May 2024 in Nairobi. The event is a collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Government of Kenya, and Jacob’s Ladder Africa (JLA).

The workshop was announced at a recent high-level roundtable event attended by Principal Secretaries from various Kenyan government departments, including Environment & Climate Change, Foreign Affairs, Energy, Labour and Skills Development, TVET, and Higher Education & Research.

Eng. Festus K. Ng’eno, the Principal Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, emphasized the importance of innovation in job creation. He stated, “Innovation in job creation will lead to green jobs and green skills development to take a low-carbon development and green growth pathway, aligning with Kenya’s international obligations under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement.”

Dr. Esther Thaara Muoria, PS for Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), highlighted the role of TVET in preparing the workforce with green skills, contributing to sustainable development and national resilience to climate change. She referenced the Kenya National Adaptation Plan 2015-2030, which emphasizes training young Kenyans in relevant careers to build national resilience to climate change.

The workshop aims to consolidate existing initiatives and establish a coordinated mechanism to avoid duplication and streamline efforts in the green economy. It will bring together stakeholders from government, academia, private sector, finance, and youth-led groups to discuss skills development, enterprise creation, and financing for green jobs.

Sellah Bogonko, CEO and Co-Founder of Jacob’s Ladder Africa, highlighted the urgency of the youth unemployment crisis in Kenya, stating, “67% of youth in Kenya are facing unemployment, coupled with a lack of required skills. We have an opportunity ahead of us to address this gap in job access while accelerating the country’s transition to a green economy.”

The workshop will focus on three main pillars: Skills Development, Enterprise Development, and Finance. The Skills Development segment will explore the role of education in preparing youth for green jobs. Enterprise Development will examine the contribution of the private and public sectors in creating green job opportunities, while the Finance segment will delve into funding mechanisms for green jobs and skills development.

Dr. Rose Mwebaza, UNEP Africa Regional Office Director, expressed optimism about Africa’s potential to harness its youth bulge by creating green job opportunities. She said, “Kenya has immense potential to create a plurality of green job opportunities that will help tackle the negative consequences of pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss.”

With 67% of Kenya’s youth facing unemployment and the green economy offering a promising avenue for job creation, the National Green Jobs and Skills Development Workshop represents a significant step towards addressing youth unemployment while promoting sustainable development in Kenya.

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