Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Limited (CEWA Ltd) together with its bottling partner Almasi Beverages Limited has today kitted 42 beneficiaries in Migori County in an innovative programme that seeks to boost their entrepreneurial skills.
The initiative, dubbed Kuza Kazi, seeks to create job opportunities, offer training and sharpen entrepreneurial skills of the youth in a bid to address the high rate of unemployment in the country and to encourage the young men and women to be self-reliant.
According to a survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), seven million Kenyans are unemployed in the whole country.
Migori County has a labour force estimate at 430,000, majority of which is made up of the youth due to a child rich population. Of the total labour force, an estimated 19,000 are classified as unemployed.
Through the Kuza Kazi initiative, the company aims to economically empower a total of 1,000 youth from Migori County in the next three years by boosting their entrepreneurial skills and equipping them to start table-top businesses. The youth will then join Coca-Cola’s retail chain distribution network using Coca-Cola products as anchor products to enhance their income and savings, expand their business, and build their potential to become future employers.
“As Almasi Beverages Limited, we are delighted to introduce the project to the young people of Migori County today as we seek solutions to address the unemployment situation in the county which is currently pegged at about four percent of the potential labour force. We are also working closely with financial institutions and the international development agency, USAID to support our youth,” said Japheth Ng’etich, General Manager, Almasi Beverages Limited.
Rolled out in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoppers (PwC) as the project managers, the Kuza Kazi initiative aims at not only creating employment opportunities, but also formalizing the informal sector which currently represents over 80 percent of employment in Kenya.
The initiative is designed to work through the existing Coca-Cola ecosystem, utilising the supply chain operated by the Coca-Cola bottling companies (Almasi Beverages, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Coastal Bottlers).
The 42 beneficiaries are the first batch of 1,000 youth to receive a starter kit consisting of an ice box, a parasol, products (soft drinks, water or juices) and branding materials, which were costed as an initial investment into their business. The beneficiaries will then operate under the direct supervision of the Coca-Cola bottling partners who will integrate them into the Coca-Cola retail network as well as fulfil vendors’ product orders, offer training and sales support.
Speaking at the event, Migori County Commissioner of Co-oprtaives Abraham Amugune said: “The Kuza Kazi initiative fits very well into our mission statement which is to build a cohesive, result-oriented and focused county grounded on an improved and sustainable socio-economic, infrastructural, affirmative action, secure and clean environment.”
“This initiative is not only favourable for Migori County, but also for the country at large as it also taps into the National government’s Big 4 Agenda. We are very pleased to receive these kits containing cooler boxes and parasols from the Kuza Kazi initiative. I am confident that this will have a positive impact on economically empowering the youth in line with our strategic objective to promote shared economic growth and job creation,” said Julius Ongadi Ouko, Chairman Migori Youth Bunge Sacco.
The Kuza Kazi initiative, seeks to harness the power of The Coca-Cola Company’s supply chain to create 50,000 jobs for Kenyan youth every year in partnership with donors, like-minded private sector entities and support from county governments.