Agriculture, digital service, artisans and beekeeping offer path to jobs to refugees in Kenya

Agriculture, digital service, artisans and beekeeping offer path to jobs to refugees in Kenya

Agriculture, digital service, artisans and beekeeping offer path to jobs to refugees in Kenya

Agriculture, digital service, artisans and beekeeping offer path to jobs to refugees in Kenya

County officials, business leaders and leading non-government organizations reviewed the findings of a study that looked at ways to create jobs and grow the economy in Turkana County.

Turkana is home to Kakuma, one of the world’s largest refugee camps. But many people in Turkana are agro-pastoralists, giving few opportunities for refugees to integrate into the local economy.

A major study of county’s market looked at which areas offer the best prospects for growth, and at how new businesses could link into existing value chains.

A key finding indicated untapped market potential in digital services, artisanal goods, and agriculture. Beekeeping showed especially strong prospects. The study also revealed a growing demand for digital services. That resonates with the large, tech-savvy youth population – despite a lack of digital infrastructure, especially among the refugee population.

Kenya hosts over 770,000 refugees, with 288,000 in Turkana alone. The county in Kenya’s northwest borders Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

The value chain assessment report lays the foundation for a four-year project where the International Trade Centre (ITC) will work with partners to grow small businesses in Turkana. The project is called Promoting Sustainable Socio-Economic Development and Creating Market-Based Livelihood Opportunities for Refugees and Host Communities.

The project is funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). It’s part of the innovative Socioeconomic Hubs for Integrated Refugee Inclusion in Kenya (SHIRIKA) Plan, which seeks to transform refugee camps into integrated settlements. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a key part of that effort.

‘Our expectation is that we will tailor and make activities that will support the provision of business development services to traders in refugee hosting areas of Kakuma and host communities,’ said the Director of Trade for Turkana County Government, James Lokwale.

He spoke at a workshop hosted by ITC on 26 June 2024 in Lodwar, the Turkana County seat. The event brought together County officials, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and organizations such as Good Neighbors Kenya, Amahoro Coalition, Inkomoko, Turkana Christian Development Mission, World Relief, LOKADO, Apir Turkana and ACDI/VOCA.

Local organizations in Lodwar and Kakuma contributed valuable insights from their experiences in the agricultural sector. Their input will be instrumental as the project begins its activities in 2024.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Trade Centre.