Coca-Cola, USAid eye 1,000 jobs in enterprise drive



Coca-Cola, USAid eye 1,000 jobs in enterprise drive

Kisii Governor James Ongwae. He said the initiative would create meaningful employment. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI 

At least 1,000 youth in Kisii will get job opportunities in a programme by a US government agency and the Coca-Cola Company through its local bottling partner Almasi Beverages.

The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAid) Kenya Youth Employment and Skills (K-YES) will collaborate with the company in an initiative dubbed Kuza Kazi that seeks to address the high rate of unemployment in the county.

Through this initiative, the company aims to boost their entrepreneurial skills and equipping them to start table-top businesses.

The youth will then join Coca-Cola’s retail network, enhancing their income and savings, expand their business, and build their potential to become future employers.

Almasi Beverages commercial director Joel Kibowen said both the private and public sectors need to work together to tackle the high unemployment.

“Almasi Beverages is pleased to be associated with Kuza Kazi, which is critical to the realisation of the country’s economic strategic objectives under Vision 2030. That is why it’s important to join hands with key partners to look for a solution in line with our Sustainability Agenda,” said Mr Kibowen.

The initiative is aligned to the government’s ‘Big Four’ agenda, and is being rolled-out in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – as the project managers.

“Kuza Kazi aims not only at increasing employment, but also formalising the informal sector which currently represents 82.7 percent of employment in Kenya,” said Mr Kibowen.

The initiative is designed to work through the existing Coca-Cola ecosystem, utilising the supply chain operated by Coca-Cola bottling companies (Almasi Beverages, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Coastal Bottlers).

Each of the beneficiaries will receive a starter kit consisting of an ice box, a parasol, products (soft drinks, water or juices) and branding materials.

The kit will be treated as the initial investment into their business. They will then operate under the supervision of the Coca-Cola bottling partners who will integrate them into the Coca-Cola retail network.

Bottling partners will fulfil vendors’ product orders, offer training and sales support.

Speaking at the event, Kisii Governor James Ongwae said that with a population of over 1.2 million, the initiative will create meaningful employment opportunities to many people in the county.

“We are happy to receive kits containing cooler boxes and parasols from the Kuza Kazi initiative and I believe this will go a long way in economically empowering the people of Kisii, especially the youth,” said Mr Ongwae at the county headquarters.

The Kuza Kazi initiative, seeks to create 50,000 jobs for Kenyan youth every year in partnership with donors, like-minded private sector entities and support from county governments.

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