In between the years 2007- 2009, the world was reeling from one of the worst Global Financial Crisis or Global Economic Crisis that saw a collapse in the stock market, a great backlash in the housing market in the United States among various other crises that rippled across economies and societies. This led to the formation of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Cairo in 2009 to bring up a forum where the youth can be elevated and entrepreneurship brought up as critical components to bringing greater economic opportunities around the world.
As the crisis went on, no one would really be prepared for one of the biggest aftermaths of the crisis: high unemployment rates. In almost every region in the world, the youth were hardest hit by unemployment. This is particularly bound to affect the population that is set to double up to more than 400 million youth in Africa with more young people entering the workforce than there are available jobs waiting for them.
We need to employ the youth. More so, we need to also create more employment opportunities for them to branch more into building their own business franchises. The youth are a key pillar in Kenya’s robust economy and with the country having one of the largest populations of youth in Africa. Roughly 70% of the working age comprising of the youth, it’s a shame that this large number is not only jobless but also have numerous opportunities to grow the economy of the country that are not being put into good use.
When considering the challenges imposed by the lack of employment creation, there are two important variables that should be considered: the number of jobs created and the quality of those jobs. Most youth are currently working in unfulfilling jobs, they aren’t growing or being challenged. They just work for the money and benefits such as health care. So why not give them an opportunity to create their own opportunities to do what they are passionate about and they can still earn a decent living and contribute to the growth of the country’s GDP?
Ignite Youth Market is the first of its kind in the country. It is organized by Youth Agenda in partnership with Nairobi City County Government and the Ministry of Public Affairs. The Nairobi Youth market is a project that is aimed at promoting a 24 hour economy in the country, powered by the strength of youth
The initiative will attract more than 300 youth entrepreneurs and will be an open-air market that will commence at 4pm and end at midnight will be a forum where the youth will get to sell their products and services. This will include a diverse fusion of shopping; that consists of a majority of youth businesses, merchandise being sold such as clothes, shoes, cosmetics, food, drinks, sports and fitness attire, electronics, a wide range of arts collections and books, kitchenware, décor, kids’ toys among others.
Dr. Evans Kidero, Nairobi County Governor outlined, “This is a significant milestone in the growth and development of our economy and the country at large. The initiative is in line with our county strategic plan that is geared towards promoting a 24hour economy so as to improve our socio-economic lives in the
He added, “This is among many other projects that we are supporting as a county to ensure that we promote businesses in the county that is also in line with the vision 2030 economic blueprint of the central government.”
The Youth Agenda Chief Executive Officer, Susan Mwongera stated, “While the night market is a prevalent trend in other parts of the continent, the Kenyan wave will be pioneered and driven by the young people. This is certainly the first night market in the country and we envision having it in all the 47 counties.”
This initiative is seen as an opportune solution to providing a solution to the challenge of youth employment through provision of readily accessible markets for their businesses, at least it’s a bold step towards the economy of the country and the looming problem that is youth unemployment. This will also help show that unemployed young people are not just the key to the country’s GDP but are also critical to the long-term economic development and general success of our society.
The market will take place during the upcoming Easter holiday as an Easter sale for Nairobians starting Good Friday, 25th March to Sunday 27th at the Comesa grounds, Kenya International Conference Centre and proceed to zone off Kaunda Street and City Hall way where subsequent markets will be accessed at least once a month.