Addis Ababa, 3rd March 2022: Today, Amref Health Africa and its consortium of partners announced the launch of a $60 million ‘Integrated Youth Activity’ – called ‘Kefeta’, an Amharic word that means ‘to elevate’ – that creates economic and social opportunities for millions of young people in Ethiopia.
Through financial assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kefeta aims to benefit at least two million young people from different walks of life in 18 urban cities, with a comprehensive approach to advancing young people’s economic, civic, and social development.
With youth between the ages of 15 and 29 accounting for 33.8% of the urban population and another 32.8% of the population below the age of 15, Ethiopia is poised for a significant youth bulge. Readying the youth ecosystem to accommodate this growth and optimise the demographic dividend is of paramount importance for the country’s socio-economic and political transformation.
In alignment with the Government of Ethiopia’s priorities, Kefeta will support young people in the target cities to strengthen their voices and agency and become a positive force for development in their country. This initiative complements the Government’s efforts to meet young people’s needs and ensure they have the capacity and ambition to contribute to a peaceful and prosperous future for Ethiopia.
The world's youngest continent
Speaking at the launch, Ethiopia’s Minister of Women and Social Affairs, Dr Ergoge Tesfaye, said young people are not always job-seekers; rather, they are entrepreneurs and creators of their own jobs. They have their own solutions to the problems they face. Creating spaces for them to become self-reliant and to contribute to their country’s development requires a multi-sectoral commitment and cooperation. She strongly hopes ‘Kefeta’ will live up to its name by creating economic and social opportunities for Ethiopian youth and elevating them to become leaders now and in the future.
According to the Embassy of the United States of America in Addis Ababa, USAID’s Integrated Youth Activity will work at the grassroots level with youth-serving organisations, private-sector businesses, and civil society organisations that help empower the youth population and drive Ethiopia further toward peace, prosperity, and self-reliance.
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Amref Health Africa Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, said: “Africa is facing the opportunity of a big demographic dividend from its young population. However, this dividend will only be realised if young people are given hope through education, healthy lives, and social and economic empowerment, in order to achieve their full human capital potential. The design of USAID’s Integrated Youth Activity is unique as it addresses these unmet needs of young people; its success will form a model for Africa to harness the continental demographic dividend.”
Over the next five years, Amref Health Africa Ethiopia and the consortium of local and international partners will implement this programme in close partnership with the youth, relevant government sectors – including the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Jobs and Skills – and city administrations. Young people will be Kefeta’s co-creators, implementers, decision-makers, and leaders.
Above and Beyond!
"Now more than ever, young people are actively dismantling barriers to development and social justice through innovation and accountability," says Amref Group CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi.
Our Youth Strategy channels that energy to help solve our most pressing issues in Africa, and beyond: with young people leading the way!