Issues

The economic development of Kenyan youth today is adversely hampered by a number of factors. The board has outlined eight key areas which if addressed can  result in considerable improvement of Kenyan youths’ socioeconomic status.  The board’s  strategic  plan, effort and resources will be directed to addressing  issues identified in;

  1. Education, training & access to information: ‘Do you have what it takes?’ Today’s education is all geared to white collar jobs. The youth board believes that there should be more interest and effort to churn out blue collar workers whose efforts contribute significantly  to the development and growth of the economy.
  2. Education: The 8.4.4 education system has been in the limelight for creating an evident gap in churning market ready citizens to engage in economic activity without further training. The cost of education is also significantly high making it difficult for young people to pursue fields of their choice.
  3. Training: Relevant and specialized training and field exposure is vital for a skilled workers. This has been a challenge. Currently, the job market has graduates with certificates who are unemployable as they lack the  market specific job skills. There’s a huge disparity between what the tertiary education institutions is churning and the current labour market demands.
  4. Access to information: Access to information especially to youth in rural areas is relatively low compared to their urban counterparts. This affects their access to material and opportunities which in turn passively impacts their personal development. In this day of integrate ICT communication, access to information is one of the main pillars of having an economically progressive society. Lack of electricity, internet connection and libraries in these areas negatively affects the literacy levels

 

  1. Initiative & work ethic: ‘Are you waiting for someone else to do something?’. Due to socioeconomic factors, there’s need to create a strong work ethic within Kenyan youth. Indolence, laziness, lack of initiative and non-participation are serious drawbacks in realizing the youth economic agenda.  In a society with numerous social, economic and political challenges, poor work ethic and lack initiative only compounds the problems. It therefore becomes a culture of pointing fingers and excuses of what is being done wrong and how the society is unfair. This essentially becomes a defeatist attitude which eats into the affected group.
  2. Behavioral & social ills (Substance abuse, addictions, crime and health related issues): ’Are you part of the problem?’ This is a global problem with serious consequences. A decade ago, Substance abuse was known to be an urban vice, however, over time, the trend has caught up with young people in the rural areas. Kenya has been hard hit by alcoholism in rural areas due to hopelessness and lack of opportunities for the youth.
  3. Opportunities & support structures: ‘Do you have a place to take your skills?’: So now we have qualified people with good work ethic but with no opportunities. This becomes a predicament for governments and its citizens. The public sector cannot solely provide employment to all the youth, additional opportunities must be produced by the private sector. For this to happen, the government has to put in the necessary environment to create jobs and business opportunities..
  4. Starting up: ’Know where to start?’  Young Kenyans turn to entrepreneurship to make use of their skills and rid themselves of  job market frustrations. however, starting  a business in Kenya is known to be equally frustrating, tedious, bureaucratic and hostile. This has a negative effect in the number of successful start-ups. There is need for  supportive measures to be put in place to increase the number of successful start-ups and to ensure that these ventures remain sustainable and profitable over time.
  5. Business capital: Do you have (enough) capital for your business? Availability of capital for business is vital for a healthy enterprise. Kenya’s capital markets are not adaptive and young entrepreneurs find it difficult to access capital to fund their businesses. This in turn leaves the youth with limited source of capital that is vital for the growth of their businesses.
  6. Exploitation (Social, religious, economic and political): ‘Are there vultures waiting for you to Stumble?’

      • Social: Poverty and lack of opportunities results into social ills which greatly affect the youth  mostly due to hopelessness and desperation.
      • Religious: Radicalization and religious hatred
      • Economic: Young entrepreneurs are prone to economic exploitation from corporations and organization that give them unfair business contracts, or worse steal their ideas and turn them into their own ventures. This may be as a result of  the Youths’ inexperience in the market, ignorance and some are a result of deliberate act of economic sabotage for businesses. Bad remuneration for work done is also an issue that affects Kenyan youth. Skewed economic growth and lack of opportunities results in low wages in the job market and other unfair terms of employment.
      • Political: politicians exploit the goodwill of youth Kenyans for political mileage and to further other political gains. Consequently, youth engage in acts of political violence and put the country’s economic development at risk.


  7. Policy: ‘Is the environment supportive?’: Some government policy has in the past been more frustrating than supportive to youth enterprise. This includes but not limited to taxation, opportunities to government contracts and ease with which one can start a business among others. Additionally, there are hardly any legislation that shield the youth from exploitation in businesses.

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