NAIROBI– Kenya will invest in vocational training for refugees to enhance their integration in the host country through employment or entrepreneurship, senior officials said Wednesday during an event to mark the World Refugee Day.
Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary for Interior, said Kenya will reach out to multilateral partners and industry to promote education for refugees as a means to rebuild their lives.
“We are focusing on a new model to help refugees become an integral part of our social and economic fabric and can only succeed if we provide them with education and training opportunities,” Matiang’i remarked in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Administrative Secretary in his ministry, Patrick Ole Ntutu.
Matiang’i said Kenya is committed to implementing a global pact on finding durable solution to the refugee crisis by focusing on their socio-economic empowerment as opposed to emergency assistance.
“We are appealing to development agencies and the private sector to invest in basic services like education and health that will benefit refugees and their host communities,” said Matiang’i.
Kenya hosts an estimated 300,000 refugees from strife-torn Horn of Africa and the great lakes region though the number has been on a decline due to voluntary repatriation.
Gordon Kihalangwa, Principal Secretary in the State Department of Immigration and Citizen Services, revealed that Kenya has repatriated 80,000 Somalia refugees since 2014 when the exercise began.
He said asylum seekers will still be entitled to essential services like education, health and shelter once they legalize their stay in their host country.
Raouf Mazou, the UNHCR Representative in Kenya, said the East African nation that has a long tradition of hosting refugees should harness their skills in order to realize progress.