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Unemployment Intervention in Africa: A Case Study on Mount Kenya University’s Graduate Enterprise Academy

Enterprise and Economic Development in Africa

ISBN: 978-1-80071-323-9, eISBN: 978-1-80071-322-2

Publication date: 11 June 2021

Abstract

A lot of literature has been generated showing the high unemployment rate in Africa and especially among the youth aged between 18 and 35 years. This glaring state of unemployment among the youth, including many educated graduates, has led them, in the course of time to despair, disillusionment, and consequent susceptibility to their involvement in anti-social behaviour including crime. For instance, the infamous radicalisation of the youth and great insecurity threats that come with this as currently being experienced in Libya, Mali, Nigeria, the Lake Chad Basin, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo as advanced by Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and affiliates are all related to unemployment challenges. Additionally, the Arab Spring in North Africa experienced in 2010, as well as the xenophobic insurgences in South Africa, South Sudan, Nigeria, and in other countries across the continent, have all been attributed to youth unemployment and disillusionment. As a way of intervention, the African Union declared a decade of youth empowerment between 2008 and 2019 which set the tempo for countries, organisations, and agencies across the continent in coming up with mitigation measures. Motivated by this spirit of assisting the youth towards a mindset change to be job and wealth creators and not job-seekers, Mount Kenya University (MKU) established the Graduate Enterprise Academy (GEA) in 2013. This chapter showcases the double-pronged approach adopted by MKU, an ISO 9001:2015 certified university in East Africa, towards promotion of entrepreneurial mindset among the youth in Africa through the GEA. More specifically, in collaboration with leading indigenous institutions and agencies in Kenya, the GEA was established in MKU in 2013 with a clear mandate of promoting youth-driven enterprises throughout the country and across the continent. More recently, since 2017, in collaboration with the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, Leuphana University of Germany, and other stakeholders, MKU has embraced the Students Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP). STEP has thus been rolled out by MKU as a co-curriculum activity for undergraduate students as well as for training youth outside universities at various counties in Kenya. The STEP and GEA initiatives at MKU are presented in this chapter as a case study in terms of their implementation, strengths, challenges, and recommendations for possible replication and up-scaling to cover the entire continent.

Keywords

Citation

Njeru, P.W. and Wanderi, M.P. (2021), "Unemployment Intervention in Africa: A Case Study on Mount Kenya University’s Graduate Enterprise Academy", Nziku, D.M. and Struthers, J.J. (Ed.) Enterprise and Economic Development in Africa, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 211-226. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80071-322-220211011

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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