Standard Chartered Bank has launched a new community investment approach that focuses more on youth empowerment through education, employability and entrepreneurship opportunities.
The new social investment strategy dubbed Futuremakers seeks to build on the community impact and achievements of Seeing is Believing, the Standard Chartered Marathon mantra.
“More than 20% of Kenyans are youth, yet the economic opportunities to finding decent work or starting a business, are dismally low. This is just not good enough. Standard Chartered Bank is pleased to support and find solutions that bridge inequality and drive sustainable growth,” said Kariuki Ngari, CEO Standard Chartered Bank Kenya.
“Through our Futuremakers programme, our global ambition is to raise USD50 million and we will empower 500,000 adolescent girls, support 100,000 youth towards employability, and build the entrepreneurship capability of 50,000 micro and small businesses,” Kariuki added. According to statistics from the World Bank, the youth account for 60% of the unemployed population in Africa.
National and global studies from leading organisations, like Twaweza East African and Oxfam International in reports published in 2018 and 2017 respectively show that inequality continues to rise in Kenya. There is therefore an urgent need for more concerted action to address the inequality gap.
“The youth in Africa today can be either viewed as a ticking time bomb or an opportunity. We at Standard Chartered are choosing to look at the youth as an opportunity. Africa has the largest population in the world with over 200 million people aged between 15 and 24. The current trend indicates that this figure will double by 2045,” Kariuki said.
Standard Chartered Bank already has existing programmes in place supporting education, employability and entrepreneurship. In 2018, the bank engaged over 3,000 girls in life skills capability building, provided more than 250 young women with employability and entrepreneurship opportunities, besides training 9,000 youth with financial capabilities.
In partnership with Strathmore University, the bank incubated 20 women-led start-ups with business and technology skills and awarded five of these enterprises with Kshs. 1millon each as seed-funding.