23rd Nov. 2021 by Caroline Langat
Kenya youth unemployment is higher than the overall national unemployment rate. While the latter is around 10% it goes as high as 35% for youth, depending on the age group. According to the UNDP study, 80% of the currently 2.3 million unemployed are young people between 15 and 34 years (World Bank, 2014). Youth unemployment is primarily a problem of labour demand. The Kenyan economy is not creating sufficient jobs to cater for the increasing number of young labour market entrants. In 2011, a total of 520,000 new jobs were created in Kenya, of which 74,000 (14.3%) were formal sector jobs. Considering the number of new labour market entrants some 300,000 young people are left behind every year. The youth unemployment challenge is therefore primarily a challenge of economic growth and job creation in Kenya. It requires bold and coordinated efforts to stimulate economic transformation and business sector development (World Bank, 2014).
Agriculture remains the backbone of Kenya’s economy, directly contributing 24% of the annual GDP and another 27% indirect contribution (ASDS, 2010 – 2020). The sector is therefore critical in creating employment and uplifting the living standards of the Kenyan people. It’s against this background that Agriculture has been identified as one of the key sectors to deliver the 10 per cent annual economic growth rate envisaged in the economic pillar of the Kenya Vision 2030. This growth will be achieved through transforming small-scale agriculture from subsistence to innovative, commercially oriented and modern agriculture. Considering high rate of youth unemployment and underemployment, the agricultural sector offers multiple livelihood and employment opportunities. Microfinance institutions like Karibu are modelling Agribusiness loans to bridge the gap and create employment for the youth and women.