What you need to know:
- The country is teeming with thousands of educated but unemployed people and the coronavirus just worsened their situation
The ongoing Kazi Mtaani initiative was well-thought out at a time millions of Kenyans are facing economic hardships brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, its key mission of cushioning the youth from the ravages of unemployment has been sidestepped as the elderly have a field day. We’ve seen boda-boda riders, taxi drivers, welders, carpenters, tailors and shopkeepers, people who already have skills and a means to eke out a living, abandon their trade to take up the Kazi Mtaani jobs, while jobless youth, who ought to be given priority by the government are given a wide berth.
Countless others lament delay or discrimination in payment, raising fears that another scandal could be in the offing — as has been the case with past youth development initiatives, like the infamous Youth Fund.
Granted, every critical economic sector is adversely affected by the deadly virus, but this shouldn’t take away the fact that people with no hustle to lay their hands on are needier than those established in the informal sector, even if they experience a downward spiral in their ventures.
The country is teeming with thousands of educated but unemployed people and the coronavirus just worsened their situation. They lack the requisite skills to wade through the murky waters of the informal sector, and the disease crisis presents the government with a serious challenge of reconsidering its policy interventions.
What is badly needed are sustainable solutions to the economic woes the youth face and not short-term initiatives, because either the pandemic will be with us for the long haul or its end will not be the end of joblessness.
Rather than pump billions of shillings in short-term initiatives like Kazi Mtaani , why not set up a factory in every county or revive the mega local factories that collapsed — like Kicomi, KCC, Kenatco and the ailing sugar factories of western and Nyanza regions?
Access bank loans
The good thing with factories is that they employ both the educated and the uneducated, the youth and the elderly and the skilled and the unskilled.
Those employed in factories can easily access bank loans to support the education of their families and even start income-generating projects that employ others.
They work while assured that retirement benefits await them in old age if managed efficiently and effectively, as opposed to short-term policy interventions that have proven to be cash cows for gluttonous officials.
We need a shift from policies that have been detrimental to the growth and economic empowerment of the youth and women of Kenya and start investing in the future.
Joab Apollo, freelance Journalist and writer, Uasin Gishu [email protected]