Young people engaged in the boda boda business are set to benefit from a partnership between the Co-operative Bank Foundation and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ). This partnership will now enhance the employment and business growth for 3,000 riders working in the boda boda business.
The partnership will offer riders support in business skills, digital tools to run their business and more important, road safety to reduce the high rate of accidents and loss of lives involving boda boda riders across the country.
The project will be first implemented in the Coast, Eastern and Central regions of Kenya, after which it will be rolled out to other parts of the country.
To kick-off the project going, the Co-op Bank Foundation will be engaging the boda boda riders through their associations and groups, and also owners of motorcycle fleets, women who run boda boda businesses and riders who operate electric and solar-powered motor bikes. In addition, Co-op Bank through its Bancassurance docket will provide insurance underwriting services to the boda boda riders, and training, mainly on benefits of insurance and risk mitigation.
Other key project partners offering support to the project include; the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to provide training on road safety and compliance, SAFAL MRM Group Foundation to mobilise the riders for training, Mark Holdings Limited for providing service facility for the motorbikes.
The Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is implementing the project under the Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) programme.
The GI Country Director Bodo Immink, lauded the project as a key milestone towards increasing job opportunities in the sector. “Initiating and supporting sustainable development is what we do every day together with our partners. With this project we are setting the stage for urban and sustainable mobility,” he said.
This was echoed by the Head of the Co-op Bank Foundation Dora Waruiru, who lauded the partnership as a long-overdue intervention to mitigate the huge challenges of the otherwise promising bodaboda sector.
“The BodaBoda sector has emerged rapidly to become a great opportunity for creating jobs and incomes especially for young people, but has come with huge challenges not least of which is the unacceptably high rate of accidents and loss of lives. It is therefore a great honour for us to partner with GIZ, NTSA and others to support BodaBoda riders run their business in a safe and profitable fashion,” said Waruiru.
In this partnership, NTSA will support the design and delivery of a curriculum on road safety and facilitate sessions on traffic laws and adherence to the set-out safety guidelines. Additionally, the Authority will support development of content related to road safety to be accessed on the digital application.
Over 75 per cent of the country’s population is aged 35 years and below. Similar to other middle-income countries, youth unemployment in Kenya presents a challenge to its development agenda. The World Bank estimates that approximately 800,000 Kenyans join the labour market each year and only 50,000 succeed in getting professional jobs. ILO corroborates this situation where youth aged 15 to 24 make up over 35 per cent of the working-age population, they account for less than 19 per cent of total formal employment. With the current population trends, the overall number of unemployed youths will double between the years 2010 and 2035. Many of these youths have resulted to the boda boda business as their primary source of income.