Unemployment The scourge of unemployment in Kenya

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As youths we don’t have to wait for employment. We can employ ourselves.

play Unemployed youth in Kenya. The scourge of unemployment in Kenya (Courtesy)

In a staggering report, Kenya recorded a whopping 39.1 percent unemployment rate in 2017 according to a recent report by United Nations; Human Development Index (HDI).

These latest statistics continue to reflect an outrageously high youth unemployment rate which is rapidly rising instead of dropping.

Kenya, which is the region’s powerhouse, has the highest unemployment rate in East Africa. Neighboring countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda have recorded a lower unemployment rate as compared to Kenya.


The massive figures of youth unemployment in Kenya is seen as a threat to the country’s role as East Africa’s economic center, even though the issue has been on the election agenda of many local politicians, especially the presidential candidates.

Youth unemployment in Kenya challenges have often been associated with high population growth rate.

Based on the United Nations estimates, the current population of Kenya is 48,609,428, ranking number 29 in the list of top countries by population.


The correlation between population growth and unemployment is not always direct as other issues specific to individual countries play part as well.

For instance, despite having a large population of 192.4 million and ranking number seven in the world, Nigeria’s 13 percent youth unemployment is well below that of Kenya.

The youth in Muranga County have divergent views on why there are such high levels of unemployment which is also very prevalent in their county.


“The reality is that as youths we have rested on our laurels. I think the problem begins with us,” said one youth in the county.

In concurrence, another fellow youth who had sentiments in the same school of thought.

“As youths we don’t have to wait for employment. We can employ ourselves. There are so many opportunities and platforms like for instance on the internet,” he said.

Pass blame

However, there are others who put the blame squarely on the government and society as a whole.

“Leaders are not willing to help the youth. The youth are willing but leaders are not determined and neither do they take the initiative,” laments a visibly frustrated young lady.

“When we want to meet leaders like for instance the governor to present ideas, they always think we want handouts. Therefore, they avoid us and our ideas do not get a platform,” decries another agitated youth.

President Uhuru

President Uhuru had said he would create a million jobs per year but only managed to create an estimated 2.5 million jobs since Jubilee came to power in 2013.

One of its flagship youth empowerment programs, the National Youth Service, is now a reference point for corruption rather than job creation.

How different stakeholders choose to tackle this giant problem Is now a matter of conjecture because promises have been made for years without tangible results.


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