Green economy empowerment with a green jobs and skills workshop at KICC

Stakeholders from across Kenya converged at Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) to strategize the acceleration of employment opportunities for youth within the burgeoning green economy sector. The National Green Jobs and Skills Workshop, themed #TwendeGreenKe, drew participation from Principal Secretaries of key government ministries, youth organizations, private sector entities, academic institutions, and enterprise support organizations. 

One of the pressing issues identified during the workshop was the misalignment between the education system and the evolving needs of the green economy. Sellah Bogonko, CEO and co-founder of Jacob’s Ladder Africa, emphasized the necessity of a coordinated effort between the public and private sectors, strengthened by international support, to generate over 100 million jobs in the green sector. With youth unemployment standing at a staggering 66%, concrete steps were deemed imperative to address this pressing challenge. 

The urgency to equip youth with the requisite skills for the green economy stems not only from the imperative of job creation but also from the need to combat climate change. Stakeholders emphasized that supporting young people’s innovative endeavors within the sector would not only enhance their livelihoods but also expedite solutions to environmental challenges. 

Festus Ng’eno, Principal Secretary for the State Department for Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry, talked about the importance of urgent action to transition to a green, low-carbon economy. Ng’eno emphasized the significance of legislative frameworks to drive the creation of green jobs. 

A critical concern raised by stakeholders was the shortage of talent within the sector, compounded by traditional attitudes towards work. The Ministry of Education pledged to adjust curricula to impart skills in environmental management, climate justice, clean energy solutions, and sustainable development across all educational levels. 

Startups and small businesses were highlighted as important players in the green economy, necessitating a dynamic ecosystem where digital innovation intersects with environmental sustainability. Dr. Rose Mwebaza, UNEP Africa Regional Office Director, emphasized the vast potential for green job creation across sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and transportation. 

However, accessing green finance remains a challenge for young entrepreneurs, attributed to uncertainties within the green economy and the lack of a legal framework. Mercy Kimalat, CEO of ASSEK, advocated for the enactment of the Startup Bill 2024 to address these challenges and spur growth in the sector. 

The workshop also emphasized the importance of policy implementation in realizing the potential of the green economy. Despite Kenya’s pioneering policies, stakeholders lamented the lack of collective effort in implementation. Vihiga Governor Wilber Otichilo urged for a concerted effort to translate policies into action, with a focus on youth empowerment. 

The KICC workshop served as a rallying point for stakeholders to chart a course towards a vibrant and inclusive green economy. Collaboration, innovation, and policy implementation were identified as key pillars in unlocking the full potential of Kenya’s youth and fostering sustainable development in the face of climate change. 


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