Kenya Exchanges Loans For Ideas For Impoverished Youth

The Kenyan government knows money doesn’t grow on their Acacia trees. That's why they're starting a new youth loan program, but with a catch: funding will only be offered in exchange for innovative business ideas.

According to Capital FM, the Kenyan government, alongside the Central Bank, will now offer loans directly to the youth through Youth Enterprises Development Fund (YEDF.)

Gor Semelang'o, chairman of YEDF, stated, "We have already written to Central Bank of Kenya to obtain a Deposit Taking Microfinance license."

The loan scheme was designed to help young people in Kenya who were having difficulty getting approval for bank loans.

In exchange for financial support, Semelang'o said that they would prompt the youth of Kenya to get creative juices flowing by asking them to propose business ideas that aim to decrease the high unemployment rate in the country.

The government said they will pay for the projects through the fund, and use interest-free loans for groups or individuals who present the best business ideas.

The program has been called, "You Win Awards," and will also include a Credit Guarantee Scheme for young consumers that have no starting money.

"We are now planning to roll out the credit guarantee scheme. If a young person takes a loan and he is not able to pay, then we will pay because these are selected young people who have brilliant ideas. They come from poor families and they do not have any collateral," Semelang'o told Capital FM.

The government expressed that they wanted to design a program that would simultaneously reduce high unemployment in Kenya by encouraging businesses growth, while also giving the youth an opportunity to work with the government.

Furthermore, Semelang'o believed that if jobs became more plentiful, there would be less crime.

The "You Win Awards" program will be held annually and identify youth entrepreneurs between 18-35. This event aims to encourage the country's economic development as well as celebrating the youth's talent.

The Kenya government hopes the program will influence youths to launch enterprises, become employers or provide more jobs for others.

Kenyans that were previously unable to fund great business ideas will now be given the tools to execute their vision.

"It will be an auspicious event where the lucky winners and runners up in the different categories will be awarded. The categories set are: Fastest Growing Business, ICT. Most Innovative Business, Environment Sustainability, Scalability and Social-Economic Impact," he explained.

To read the full story at Capital FM click here.

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