The 2019 Housing and Population Census indicates that 29% or 13.6 million of Kenya’s population is aged between 18-34 years. Another 75%, or 35.7 million Kenyans fall between 0-35 years.
Kenya is a young people’s country.
This age group can bring limitless opportunities to our country, but only if they are trained and then provided with opportunities to implement their knowledge and skills.
Creating opportunities, particularly jobs, for these young people is the biggest challenge this country has to deal with going into the future.
All our policies must reflect this reality.
I propose that going forward, we consider the following steps:
- Create a Stand-alone Ministry for Youth Affairs and mainstream appointments of the Youth in the next Government. At independence, young leaders did a spectacular job of preparing Kenya for the future. The foundation the young leaders laid, has brought Kenya this far.
- Create Youth Commission with equal representation of both genders and task it with advancing the participation of the youth in all spheres of public and private life; mainstreaming the youth perspectives in planning and decision making; advising the national and county governments on the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programs to secure sustainable livelihoods for the youth; facilitating generational mentorship and integration of African traditional values with contemporary youth lifestyles.
- Create Tax Holiday for Youth enterprises- Minimise taxation of new and small youth-owned businesses by giving them a tax holiday of seven years in addition to extending tax incentives to organizations and companies that offer employment to the youth.
- Real action, not just policies on paper, to enable young people start and stay in businesses. Ease of Doing Business in Kenya must begin giving particular attention to and providing accountability mechanism for how easy it is for young people to start a venture and build a business. The Tax Holiday for Youth businesses must be a reality, but that is just a start.
- Redesign, Revamp and Relaunch Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO). When the youth make 75 per cent of our population, it beats logic to have an institution that is meant to help them do placed at National Treasury, under a small toothless secretariat. AGPO belongs in the Ministry responsible for youth affairs. Parliament needs change the AGPO Act.
- Make training and retraining of our youth a constant in our policies. In this regard, we review HELB Loan by expanding limit to reflect the cost of living in Kenya as it evolves, removing the interest rates accrued and CRB listing of the graduates. In addition, increase and expand bursaries in tertiary institutions, again, to reflect the reality of the cost of living.
- Revamp, empower and activate the Youth One Stop Shops to provide strategic and youth focused services, including access to ICT, entrepreneurship training, and guidance and counselling on drugs and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS prevention among others.
- Activate Youth Internet Designate Spots/Zones across the country, with free internet and professional guidance services for Youth to access internet for jobs and other opportunities. These spaces will have to be ran by youth, recruited as ICT Interns by the Public Service Commission.
- Re-Engineer the National Youth Service, devolve its campuses to all the 47 counties in collaboration with the county governments and put it in charge of a mandatory induction and community Services across the country. 2
- Design a policy for Youth leaders Program, both global and local by supporting 1000 youth every year with paid internship in UN and other international agencies across the world to enable them grow and be infused with best practices by developed Countries.
- With the help of the National government and Private sector, roll out a 10,000 Per year Kenya National Youth Internship Program (KNIP).
- Revamping Industries across the 47 counties for MADE IN KENYA products to provide employment opportunities for the youth and make use of and perfect their skills. KICOTEC by Kitui County Government would provide the guidance needed in this direction.
- Maintain data bank on skilled youth, source support, including extending specific incentives to SMEs ran by craftsmen and artisans and ensure that their passions become professions, industries and jobs.
- Pursue Youth Jobs Immigration program to review the quality of jobs offered to the Kenyan youth abroad, ensure the security of young Kenyans taking up such jobs and make the entire process friendly, transparent and accountable.
- Review and Reform the Youth Empowerment Development Fund (YEDF) – Ensure credit access is youth-friendly, flexible and accessible to individual Youths, youth groups and youth-owned SMEs.
- Create Toll-Free Youth Call Centre – Have a digital platform that allows any young person to get any information on Youth Opportunities across Government departments on their phone.
- Create National Boda Boda Fund and Local Boda Boda Assembly Units for Motorbikes to make them more available and affordable in order to harness and support the potential of the 2.4 million riders.