Although Kenya’s economy expanded by 6.3 per cent last year, its fastest growth in over five years, the low number of jobs it created in the formal sector raises major policy concerns.
The 2019 Economic Survey released revealed that the economy created 840,600 new jobs in 2018, the bulk of which went to the informal sector. Only 78,400 jobs were created in the formal sector.
The Jubilee government unveiled its four pillar development agenda last year and it has not clearly defined the role or impact they are expected to have on creation of jobs among the youth since the government has failed to engaged the lot.
The government must now review its youth development strategy as it rolls out the four pillars to ensure that the jobs created are sustainable. For instance, value addition in agricultural produce and manufacturing would create new jobs for youth and in turn bring more people in the tax bracket.
Although some mechanisms are in place for coordination of youth interventions in the country, there is need for meaningful collaboration and engagement among the stakeholders, mainstreaming the youth affairs in all the sectors of the economy.
This has been a strong missing link, which has negatively affected the programs the government has put in place to empower youth.
For instance, there is no clear policy measures and programs to ensure that youth get the 30 per cent of the all the government procurement — the biggest consumer in the economy.
Even with various funding programmes in place, challenges of lack of enough capital among the youth and great creativity they have demonstrated to harbor, the government has continually failed to engage them sufficiently.
there is need for meaningful collaboration and engagement among the stakeholders, mainstreaming the youth affairs in all the sectors of the economy.
Without youth-centered planning, budgeting and development, and without youth contribution, it will be a formidable challenge for Kenya to realize the nation’s development goals.
Mainstreaming youth agenda is a key step towards ensuring integration, equity and inclusion of youth in the national governance and economic development.
This is about meaningful adult-youth engagement and respect for young people’s opinions and contribution. Transforming youth-adult power relationships is critical to addressing their plight.
It is clear that young people’s social, economic and political rights cannot be met by discrete youth empowerment strategies. Youth mainstreamed policies complement the focus of discrete youth policies managed by the youth.
This gives forth a proactive youth sector, with effective, results-based management and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that influence national and sub-national planning.
To improve youth welfare, there is a need to create an independent Ministry for Youth Affairs. Integrating youth affairs in various ministries has not worked out well.
Also, the full and proper implementation of the revised National Youth Policy is needed. And finally, is the need to overhaul and revamp the Youth Council in line with the National Youth Council (NYC) Act 2009, in which the council is anchored.
|Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi