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Nairobi leading in Youth Fund billions allocation -report

Youths in Nairobi have received the lion’s share of loans disbursed through the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) since its inception 10 years ago.

Of the total Sh11.9 billion lent out to 886, 313 youths countrywide over the period, young people in the Kenyan capital have been the runaway beneficiaries, receiving Sh2.3 billion for various loan products.

Kiambu County is a distant second, having received loans worth Sh894 million, followed by Nakuru (Sh746 million), Meru (Sh690 million), Nyandarua (Sh491 million), Uasin Gishu (Sh452 million), Murang’a (Sh427 million and Mombasa (Sh410 million).

Youths in Samburu County received the least amount at Sh11 million, followed by those in Mandera (Sh17 million), Tana River (Sh22 million), Marsabit (Sh23 million) Lamu (Sh24 million) and Wajir Sh27 million).

According to the latest Youth Fund disbursement summary, a total of Sh1.7 billion in loans has been extended to 33,714 youth groups in Nairobi through financial intermediaries while 349 groups that won Government tenders have benefited from Sh205 million in trade financing.

LOANS FOR INDIVIDUALS

Another 1,635 loans amounting to Sh169 million were extended to the Nairobi youths in form of the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme (C-YES), 394 loans worth Sh21 million through the Easy Youth Enterprise Scheme and another 186 loans worth Sh123 million through Vuka, a business expansion loan for individuals, companies, groups and partnerships.

And in what proves the endeavor by urban youth to embrace agriculture, Nairobi received the second highest number of loans (31) in the Agri Vijana category, only second to Kiambu County that got 41 loans. The fund provides greenhouses alongside certified seeds, drip irrigation system and agronomical support on interest-free credit. Nairobi also ranks highly among beneficiaries of poultry incubator loans, a fund that provides computerized poultry incubators on credit.

Interestingly though, 18 counties have not received a single shilling in LPO financing while only five counties have so far received bid bonds.

Counties such as Kakamega, Busia, Isiolo, Kisii, Lamu, Mandera, Marsbait, Samburu, Tana River, Wajir, Turkana and West Pokot have for instance also not benefitted from any greenhouse loans.

STATUS REPORT

According to the YEDF status report, implementation of the fund’s programs has been hampered by the constant slashing of its annual allocation by treasury, which has seen demand for services overwhelming resources.

Other challenges cited included the massive time and money invested in preparing the many young people who lack entrepreneurial skills to manage loans, as well as inadequate financial infrastructure in parts of the country, inhibiting disbursement and repayment.

“Despite the high uptake of loans, YEDF still experiences defaults, mainly as a result of lending to a clientele that is perceived to be risky. This eats into the money available for lending,” the report adds.

Ronald Osumba, the Youth Fund chairman, admits that the fund can do better as much as it has registered notable progress.

“We plan to streamline processes to bring in efficiency. We plan to invest in robust and efficient systems that will lay the foundation for automation and for availing our services on the mobile phone platform that is popular with our youth,” he says “We are also working at matching our turnaround time to the banking sector.