Addis Ababa, March 4, 2022—Yesterday, the United States through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new investment of $60 million (3.1 billion Birr) to lift up millions of vulnerable youth across Ethiopia. Over the next five years, the new USAID Kefeta activity—which means ‘to elevate’ in Amharic—will help youth in 18 cities find meaningful jobs and expand their voice in Ethiopia’s civil discourse. This activity will also ensure that youth have better access to essential services—such as banking, family planning, and healthcare.
The launch event for the USAID Kefeta activity was held at Friendship Park in Addis Ababa. At the event, several young Ethiopians took the stage to describe both their hopes for and in-depth involvement in designing the new American investment. (USAID has not only engaged youth in Kefeta’s design from the start but is committed to ensuring this new activity will be youth-owned, youth-led, and youth-managed!) In attendance were Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye, the Honorable Minister of Women and Social Affairs; representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Labor and Skills; and Ambassador Tracey A. Jacobson, the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa.
Youth across Ethiopia face a variety of social, political, and economic challenges. Each young person without the promise of a well-paying job, a voice that is heard in their community, or access to a family doctor, hinders Ethiopia’s prosperity.
To help youth achieve their own prosperous futures, the USAID Kefeta activity will work at the grassroots level with youth-serving organizations, private-sector businesses, and civil society. For example, the activity will establish an innovative, youth-led and youth-managed ‘Empowerment Fund’ that is projected to grow to over $20 million by 2026, which will finance youth enterprise start-ups. The activity will also support career centers in higher education institutions and community-based youth centers to reach over 700,000 youth with skills training, such as digital literacy and entrepreneurship training.
The two million youth targeted by the life-changing USAID Kefeta activity currently live across 17 secondary cities in semi-urban communities of Ethiopia and in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Ultimately, empowering the country’s young population will help propel Ethiopia further forward toward peace, prosperity, and self-reliance.