World Bulletin/News Desk
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)'s special summit on youth unemployment kicked off in Kenyan capital Nairobi on Sunday.
"The ultimate goal of this forum should be to inspire the creation of an atmosphere in which youth employment can be multiplied and one that will draw more and more from the talents and creativity that accompany youthfulness," Kenyan Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning Anne Waiguru told the opening session.
"Today marks the culmination of our countries' joint commitment to discuss youth unemployment and find ways of addressing it in detail," she added.
The decision to hold the meeting in Kenya was decided by the heads of state of the ICGLR 12 countries on January 15 in Luanda, Angola.
Established in 2007, the ICGLR, which has its headquarters in Bujumbura, Burundi, aims to promote peace and stability in Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
Secretary Waiguru said that unemployment currently stands at 12.7 percent in Kenya and affects 30 percent of the country's population.
"Notably, the youth population in Kenya has grown from 3.3 million in 1969 to about 16 million youth at present," she added.
The official said her government has vowed to support the youth and has adopted employment creation as a major policy agenda in its 2030 vision program.
Ambassador Ken Vitisa, Kenya's National Coordinator for ICGLR, described unemployment as a trigger and fuel for conflict in the region.
"Youths have increasingly looked at joining militants or terrorist groups as a form of employment," he told the opening session.
Vitisa insisted that for there to be peace and stability the issue of unemployment should be tackled seriously.
"We must as a region, through the theme of this summit, create avenues from which the youth can move away from joining militant groups and terrorist groups," he said.
"I am sure at the end of this summit we will be saying a different story," added Vitisa.Last Mod: 20 Temmuz 2014, 17:56