High Rate of Unemployment vs Sustaining Income Growth of the Bottom 40%

Do you think Kenya will be able to achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40%  of her population at a rate higher than the national average by 2030 in line with goal number 10 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Agenda?

In the wake of the pandemic that has ravaged all sectors of the country’s economy, progress to achieving equality has been stalled. The COVID19 pandemic has further made it difficult for young people to get absorbed into the job market. The youth make up about 20% (if not over) of the total population of the country. With reference to data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), ABOUT 800, 000 YOUNG Kenyans enter the job market every year. In the latest economic survey of 2021 reported by Hon. Ambassador Ukur Yatani, the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, it is estimated that over 740 000 Kenyans lost their jobs in 2021.

Youth unemployment stands at 35% while the overall national unemployment rate is at 10%. Kenya’s unemployment rate doubled to 10.4%.The country’s economy went on a downward trajectory by 0.3 percent in 2020 as compared to 5 percent growth in 2019.

It is evident that most private organizations had to shrink their departments in the wake of the deadly pandemic despite the government’s contingency response strategy to cushion small and medium-size enterprises against the economic shock.  The tourism and hospitality sector is the worst hit during the initial stages of containing the spread of the virus. Even the Jua Kali sector faced tough times maintaining employability. 2020/2021 has seen a major shift in how businesses run their day-to-day operations with most companies shifting to remote/ online workspaces thus rendering some positions unsustainable.

The big question remains, what becomes of the majority of young and energetic youth. The country has just entered into an electioneering mood. Campaigns for the 2022 general elections are soon commencing. How likely are the youth going to be used by unethical politicians for some unwarranted tokenism? And to what end?


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