A new national youth policy will see the age bracket for the youth reduced from 14-35 to 16-30 years of age.
The new policy, approved by Cabinet last week, was introduced by the Ministry of Youth and ICT, which attributed the change in the age bracket as a way of harmonising with regional and international standards.
According to the ministry, this policy is a revised version of that of 2006 and is aimed at updating and renewing the direction of the youth sector in relation to a number of guidelines and orientations.
Benoit Ngabonziza, the director of youth empowerment and programmes coordination unit at the ministry, cited the need to have many youth representatives in international organisations which was formerly hindered by the differences in benchmarks.
“We want to have representatives in United Nations and African Union. Therefore, we had to change our youth definition to fit in theirs,” he said, giving an example of the UN where a youth is defined as a person between 15 and 24 years: and the Commonwealth where a youth is a person between 15 and 29 years.
“We want to harmonise with these organisations. A Commonwealth youth is one between 15 and 29 years, a UN youth is between 15 and 24, and the difference was quite big since ours would even reach 35,” he said.
John Rutaisire, a student at Mount Kenya University, said the new age definition could have a negative impact since the people above 30 will lose out on opportunities targeting the youth.
The policy also entails other plans including creating 200,000 new jobs, facilitating youth financially by giving them loans even when they don’t have guarantors, sensitising them for a brighter future and also to achieve the post 2015.
UN agenda enshrined in the sustainable development goals.