Many technology companies around the world have been started in a small garage by young ambitious minds but they turned into multi-billion-shilling corporations. Many Kenyan youth have crawled out of poverty through technological innovations. To help the youth who don’t have computer skills to earn a living, let us give them digital skills.
Kenya’s unemployment rate will hit seven per cent this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations, the only way to survive is by self-employment, which would be impossible without skills and capital. Digital skills is one of the critical skills youths need to set up a business. An International Finance Corporation (IFC) study shows 230 million jobs in Africa will require some level of digital skills by 2030.
That opens a window to a $130 billion (Sh1.4 billion) market for young Kenyans with, mainly, programming skills. They can start up MSMEs offering tech services. Covid-19 has forced many companies to go digital, opening a niche for owners of tech MSMEs to take them through digital migration.
Many youth have ventured into enterprises that offer graphics design, internet connection and software and website development. But unavailability of computer-based information systems is making SMEs crumble due to poor planning and record- keeping. Also, the tech MSMEs digitise the market structure of SMEs by creating websites that can help them to sell their products online, reaching more customers. Youth enterprises will help many SMEs.
MSMEs contribute 40per cent of the GDP. Training youth on digital skills will help to accelerate establishment of tech MSMEs. The likelihood of employing their fellow youth is high. Hiring youth for Kazi Mtaani is good but training them to create their own enterprises is more sustainable. Just as we spend a fortune on roads, let us develop the people.
Mr Njoroge is a communication and media technology student at Maseno University. [email protected].