KENYA – Centum Investment subsidiary, Tribus-TSG, has secured a US$1.37m (KSh137 million) from the Mastercard Foundation to build ten job hubs known as Ajiry Centres.
The fund will finance employee wages and equipment installations in ten counties of Wajir, Kisumu, Bungoma, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Meru, Nairobi, Machakos, and Kilifi.
The Ajiry Centres and app, which were launched May 2019, seeks to connect job seekers with real-time job opportunities and on-demand workforce services.
Centum Chief Executive Officer James Mworia said since the launch of the Ajiry App in 2019, they have registered more than 23,000 skills and advertised more than 9,000 jobs in their database.
“The intention is to tackle youth unemployment and empower small businesses,” said Mr Mworia.
The investment is part of the foundation’s aim to connect five million young Kenyans with jobs under its Young Africa Works initiative.
It will also involve the government, counties, private sector, educational institutions, training providers, associations, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
Mastercard Foundation Regional Head Eastern and Southern Africa, Daniel Hailu said investing in young people is critical for economic growth and pays dividends over the long-term.
“With the right support in relevant skills, financial services, networks, and markets, young Kenyans will find dignified and fulfilling work, which will improve their lives and those of their communities,” Mr Hailu said
Through the app, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals will be able to advertise their products for free under “MyHustle”.
The platform will also give employers freedom to choose from a variety of rated and verified professionals, and to call them directly to negotiate payment terms.
Since January, Tribus TSG has secured jobs for 467 professionals from 20 different counties across Kenya.
In March 2019, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Youth Service (NYS) that saw 173 National Youth Service (NYS) graduates absorbed into Tribus TSG.
Mr Mworia said Centum has invested more than US$0.3m (KSh30 million) in six startups as part of the Centum Foundation’s objective of empowering the growth of small businesses.
“We have made a deliberate decision to focus our corporate social investments to tackle unemployment among the youth. We believe youth are key to the contribution of the country’s economic agenda and remain untapped given the continued rise in the unemployment rate.”