Youth unemployment is one of the most daunting economic challenges facing Kenya with over 60% of its population aged between 18 and 35. It is estimated that youth unemployment is running between 65 and 80 per cent, of the total unemployment. Many of the unemployed Youth have no job training other than formal schooling. Hence, unemployment is not just a lack of jobs, but also a lack of job skills due to inadequacy of the training infrastructure as well as the means to acquire skills due to poverty.
It is in recognition of the above facts that the government conceived the idea of institutional financing as a way of addressing unemployment which essentially is a youth problem. The concept is based on the premise that micro, small, and medium enterprise development initiatives are likely to have the biggest impact on job creation. Young people who constitute the largest segment of our society, is the future of any economy and a key driver of employment growth and economic activities.
Youth Enterprise Development Fund was established in December 2006 by the government as an initiative that is hoped to address the unemployment rate among the youth. The twin strategic pillars of this initiative are enterprise development and externally focused employment creation through Youth Employment Scheme Abroad (YESA).
The government’s resolve in ensuring sustainability and professional management was evident on 11th May 2007 when the Fund was transformed into a State Corporation so as to respond to the changing needs of the youth