Youth unemployment in Kenya is one of the main social and economic challenges the country is currently facing. Reports by the World Bank indicate that over 1.2 million youth are jobless, translating to 11.4% of Kenyans aged between 15-34, putting the country’s unemployment rate at 11.4%.
Youth employment is at the heart of the SDGs, and while we know which interventions and policies are effective, a lot remains to be done to guarantee the scale, depth, and innovation needed to improve labor market outcomes of young people in a sustained manner.
The world of work is constantly changing, bringing about new challenges and opportunities. There is, therefore, a need to scale up action and impact on youth employment and enabling young people to be ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing world of work.
Decent work and economic growth is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, which were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
Decent Work and Economic Growth is SDG8 and aims at ensuring that the economic growth process allows for more inclusiveness, higher-income equality and sustainability through, among others, decent job creation.
Speaking during the media policy breakfast for journalists, Raphael Agung, Chief Economist at NCBA Group encouraged the youth not to shy away from technical jobs, which were not traditionally viewed as high calibre jobs. “Through devolution, the whole economic infrastructure in Kenya has shifted to the ground thus creating devolved jobs,” he said.
The Kenyan government has tried to curb the high youth unemployment rate by coming up with funds such as the Youth Fund and the Women Empowerment Fund among others. However, more effort has to be made to ensure can easily access these funds and create job opportunities for themselves and others.
On top of that, the government is also encouraging the youth to take up technical courses in TVET accredited institutions. It has also made it possible for students in these institutions to get funding from the High Educations Loan Board (HELB); a move in the right direction since there has been a surge in hard skills jobs.