The Kenyan government alongside Stanbic Kenya Foundation and Microsoft have partnered to equip Kenyan businesses with digital skills needed to fill the gap within the market. The initiative is expected to impact more than 50,000 entrepreneurs, who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. MSMEs as well as Kenyans are expected to benefit from digital upskilling, especially those who had lost jobs as a result of the pandemic.
Following the prolonged pandemic duration which resulted in a longer period of downturn for businesses, many companies in the country responded by laying-off staff following a period of diminished or no revenues. As a result, there were numerous job losses, and the initiative is looking to impact them. According to the initiative, Stanbic bank and Microsoft Kenya will unveil the program in several counties across the country with support from the concerned Kenyan ministry to cover at least 1,000 state employees as well as placing 2,000 youths into employment by end of the year.
While speaking on the unveiling, cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Betty C. Maina acknowledged the digital landscape was changing rapidly, and Kenyans needed to change in order to remain employable. Betty C further welcomed the initiative, pointing out the private sector’s need to support the government in progressing its digital strategy. She concluded by adding that the initiative will go along way in cementing the government’s investments in capacity building as well as adoption of digital technologies.
According to latest estimates, the labor market world-over will need close to 150 million jobs for a period of 5 years to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Most of these jobs are expected to come from technology rather than traditional methods. This will ensure there isn’t a big gap in social and economic disparity as well as creating a tech-enabled workforce that would aid companies recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Commenting on the initiative, the Chief Executive for Stanbic Bank Kenya, Charles Mudiwa said the company had set an initial target of 50,000 people in Kenya but will add more in in subsequent phases as they work to empower and uplift Kenyans to continue innovating themselves and to achieve their dreams.
Microsoft Kenya Country Manager Kendi Nderitu said the company will be equipping Kenyans with necessary resources to be able to gain additional skills as it has always been the key component of their mission. Kendi further said the partnership will help curb the impact of the pandemic on Kenyans through addressing the growing skill gap in the country.