Kenya has a vibrant, innovative business ecosystem and a youthful population that is driven, creative, and prepared to hustle. This presents an opportunity for accelerated social and economic growth. However, the formal labour market is still constrained and is not creating enough jobs to absorb the majority of youth seeking work. 

There are several dimensions to the problem of youth unemployment in Kenya, with the two main ones being; the demographic dimension, related to the bulging youth population and; the labour markets dimension, related to the preparedness of the youth for the labour market and vice-versa. This means that the economic opportunities driven by a high growth rate must outpace the increase in population.  

Small and medium-sized enterprises are at the heart of the Kenyan economy. Supporting the growth and expansion of small and medium enterprises is therefore a credible springboard to catalyse job creation and improved livelihoods for young and vulnerable populations, at scale. 

Programme Overview

Through the Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) aims to provide technical assistance and grant funding to organizations with the potential to implement innovative solutions with the potential to create large scale, productive jobs for youth and women. The Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund is a £5m, 4-year catalytic jobs fund that will, through a mix of technical assistance and grant support, test competitively selected innovations that have potential to unlock market constraints and create jobs, including for the most vulnerable, e.g. people living with disability. The programme will contain a strong emphasis on learning and evidence. It will seek to generate knowledge, data and evidence on ways of addressing barriers to job creation and disseminate findings to relevant stakeholders, including potential investors.