Coca-Cola launches youths’ enterprise drive in Kisii County

Twenty five youths supplied with Coca-Cola kits

Coca-Cola together with its bottling partner Almasi Beverages Limited and USAID Kenya Youth Employment and Skills (K-YES) on Friday launched a job-creation initiative dubbed Kuza Kazi in Kisii County.

The initiative seeks to create entrepreneurship opportunities to address the high rate of unemployment in the country.

Speaking  during  the launch, Joel Kibowen, Commercial Director, Almasi Beverages Limited said that  through this initiative, the company aims to economically empower 1,000 youth from Kisii County by boosting their entrepreneurial skills and equipping them to start table-top businesses.

Mr Kibowen said the youth will then join Coca-Colas retail network, enhancing their income and savings, expand their business, and build their potential to become future employers.

“Almasi Beverages Limited is very pleased to be associated with Kuza Kazi which is critical to the realization of the country’s economic strategic objectives under Vision 2030,” said Mr Kibowen .

He further said that to address the high rate of unemployment in the country, both the private and public sectors need to work together and therefore underscored the need partner.

He was categorical that the initiative is aligned to the government’s Big Four agenda, and is being rolled-out in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoppers (PwC) – as the project managers. Kuza Kazi aims not only at increasing employment, but also formalising the informal sector which currently represents 82.7 per cent of employment in Kenya.

“Each of the beneficiaries will receive a starter kit consisting of an ice box, a parasol, products (soft drinks, water or juices) and branding materials,” he said.

The beneficiaries will receive the starter kit at cost as an initial investment into their business. They will then operate under the direct supervision of the Coca-Cola bottling partners who will integrate them into the Coca-Cola retail network. Bottling partners will fulfil vendors’ product orders, offer training and sales support.

Kisii County Governor James Ongwae said the Kuza Kazi initiative will create meaningful employment opportunities to many people in the county.

“We are happy to receive kits containing cooler boxes and parasols from the Kuza Kazi initiative and I believe this will go a long way in economically empowering the people of Kisii County, especially the youth, said Governor Ongwae.

The governor appealed to the Coca-Cola company to consider reviving the operations at the Kisii Bottlers that has resulted to many losing their jobs after its shutdown. The Governor  said that the closure of the Kisii bottlers  plant that employed hundreds of people had adversely affected the socio-economic status of the county.

The Kisii traders have also suffered depressed stocks of soft drinks after the company moved its operations to Nyeri based Mount Kenya Bottlers.

The Kuza Kazi initiative, seeks to harness the power of Coca-Colas 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.

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