Home Money & Business How the youth are responding to the unemployment menace in Kenya

How the youth are responding to the unemployment menace in Kenya


With unemployment reaching dreadful high numbers globally, the current young generation is getting into despair and jumping into dangerous survival habits and exploits.

In Kenya, the unemployment rate is 39.1% making it the highest in East Africa. A lot of people have attributed the high unemployment rate to an education system which doesn’t factor skills gap and market needs. Federation of Kenya Employers added their views on the matter positing that 66 per cent of university graduates entering the job market are usually “not prepared” to take up the jobs and that only 34 per cent were “very prepared.”

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This lack of jobs especially for the majority of youths who drop out of school and never go to colleges has caused an increase in social vices. Most of these youths end up joining street gangs like Gaza, a notorious group based in Kayole, Superpower in Eastleigh and the 40 Brothers of Eastland’s to support their flashy lifestyle. A research by the University of Edinburg, the Danish Institute against Torture and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit established that gangs were responsible for 43 per cent of violence in slums while police contribution to the problem stands at 25 per cent.

On the other hand, the educated and complex youths are being lured into other sophisticated groups that entice them with religious, ideological and political reasons. The groups appeal to Maslow’s 3rd need thus handing salt into injury and already complex situation. According to UNDP study, locally recruited youths- mostly join for economic benefits, a research conducted in Somalia showed that 27% of respondents joined al Shabab for economic reasons, 15% mentioned religious reasons and 13% were forced to join. The Research found out that there is no easy answer to why people join terrorist organizations. It’s a complex picture; the processes may be linked to political and social exclusion dynamics, poor governance structures as well as religious and ethnic discrimination.

Everyone agrees that the best way to provide people with jobs is to guarantee a healthy, growing economy. Economists now believe that at full capacity the economy can employ all but 5.5 percent of workers without triggering inflation. In general, they believe that two types of employment policies are needed: Temporary, countercyclical programs, such as public works projects or revenue sharing with state and local governments for hiring or prevention of layoffs would be used when the economy is slack. More permanent structural programs would be aimed at the hardcore unemployed to achieve full employment this is according to the New York Times article of 1978 which was used by President Carter to revive Economy of USA and create employment back in 1977.

Current Kenya government can use the same policies and strategies or create generics ones to reduce current unemployment rates in Kenya and spur the Economy. The private sector can also help by using Michael Porter three generic strategies that a company could use to gain competitive advantage; cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. These generic strategies and other strategies can help Kenya alleviate poverty levels and gradually reduce unemployment. Today, USA as lowest levels at 11.1% due to strategies implemented in 1980s.

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