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Kenya's tech companies follow government's lead on job creation

Kenya's tech companies follow government's lead on job creation

At least two private sector initiatives aimed at giving Kenyans access to the job market have been announced following the launch of a new online jobs portal through Kenya's ICT ministry last week.

Applications for mobile operator Safaricom's 'Women In Technology' internship programme close today and opportunities to join the Nairobi office of internet company Blue Bear as developer interns are now open. Kenya's unemployment rate is among the highest in the world according to a World Bank report released in March.

Thibaud Rerolle, Director of Technology at Safaricom revealed the motivation behind Safaricom's initiative which plans to recruit 62 female interns by January 2017.

"Our technology internship program is built on the knowledge that in order to continue Transforming Lives, we must continue to invest in building capacity to manage cutting edge technologies," said Rerolle.

The internships target 40 female university students, with a further 18 internships open to all university applicants and an additional four internships to be filled through the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya.

Applications for the Safaricom programme are open to Kenyan applicants in their 3rd to 5th year of study in ICT related fields including Computer Science, Information Technology, Electrical and Electronics Engineering or Telecommunications Engineering. The mobile operator says applicants must not have graduated and should only apply through its career portal.

"Safaricom's Women In Technology initiative has contributed to more female engineers joining Safaricom, lifting the ratio of female to male engineers in the company from 9% in 2013 to 20% today. To date, more than 320 students have undergone the technology Internships, with Safaricom absorbing 22 former interns to full-time positions with more than 30 others employed by other industry players," noted Safaricom in its announcement of the programme which will begin with applicants job shadowing Safaricom engineers in their roles, before being assigned practical projects and duties.

The Nairobi office of online company BlueBear has also started its search for young developer interns. Successful applicants from those opportunities would work alongside the company's permanent staff to to create campaigns with social media influencers for branding on the internet.

At the launch of the government's new online job portal, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication, and Technology Joe Mucheru said the Ajira Digital Program is in line with government policy of job creation and a response to globally growing market for online work. Mucheru also revealed that more than 40, 000 Kenyans engage in online work alone. Although 2016 figures are yet to be announced, the most recent statistics by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show growth of the ICT sector in the country dropped to 7.3% in 2015 compared to the year before.

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