Kenya plans to promote international labor migration for local youth in order to boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings, a government official said on Tuesday.
Julius Korir, principal secretary of the State Department of Youth Affairs told journalists in Nairobi that Kenyans working abroad have emerged as a key pillar of economic growth due to their remittances sent back to the country. “We have excess labor in Kenya while there is demand in some foreign countries. The idea is to give our young people international exposure through job opportunities so that we can also earn foreign exchange,” Korir said when the State Department of Youth Affairs signed a memorandum of understanding with Postbank to educate, equip and empower youth. Korir said that foreign employment also facilitates technology transfer as well as cultural exchanges.
The east African nation said that it has conducted a survey to identify the skills mostly in demand internationally so that it can position the youth to benefit from the employment opportunities. Korir said that the state-owned Youth Enterprise Development Fund has developed a youth employment scheme abroad to facilitate cross-border migration of unemployed Kenyans. Benson Muthendi, acting CEO Youth Enterprise Development Fund said that before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had set a target of securing foreign employment for 20,000 Kenyans annually.”Due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has put restrictions on international travel, we are reviewing the situation so that we can align our goal on foreign employment to the reality on the ground,” Muthendi added. He noted that skilled Kenyans would likely get jobs in Europe and North America while artisans could be absorbed in the Middle East region.