More than one in every three Kenyan youth would leave the country to find a better job abroad, escape poverty or pursue an education if given the opportunity.

According to survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2018, 7 million Kenyans were unemployed with 1.4 million out of this figure desperately looking for jobs.

Most unemployed Kenyan youth turn to gambling which now comes with a 10 per cent excise duty.

DOWNLOAD: The Woes of the Young Kenyan Entrepreneur – Paul Mutuku

As we stand, the unemployment rate among Kenyan youth is at over 75%. This simply means that of all the graduates that leave campuses, over 75% of them who are the youth will be jobless. Click To Tweet

My feelings on the Nightmares facing Kenyan Youth:

A happy graduand. With so many students graduating each year from institutions of higher learning, a degree is no longer a guarantee of employment. PHOTO - FOTOSEARCH
A happy graduand. With so many students graduating each year from institutions of higher learning, a degree is no longer a guarantee of employment. PHOTO – FOTOSEARCH
More than one in every three Kenyan youth would leave the country to find a better job abroad, escape poverty or pursue an education if given the opportunity. Click To Tweet

As I write this, I am filled with rage, heartbroken, sad, disappointed and feeling so many cocktails of emotions. I look at this nation, Kenya and I basically feel like we have lost touch with reality as a country. Instead of progressive development, we are basically crawling back to the Stone Age.

Where we stand as a nation isn’t a place where a county should stagnate. We are literally killing the future of this nation of which we will be judged harshly by the future generations to come if at all there will be any.

Kenya has lost its glory and honor among other things. As we stand, the unemployment rate among Kenyan youth is at over 75%. If you haven’t connected with that reality then take a step back, take a breather, reread this then face it as gospel truth and reality. This simply means that of all the graduates that leave campuses, over 75% of them who are the youth will be jobless.

What drives Kenyan youth to offer bribes?

According to survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2018, 7 million Kenyans were unemployed with 1.4 million out of this figure desperately looking for jobs. Click To Tweet

Education was traditionally and is still regarded as the key to success. Our system is, however, designed like a bottleneck. The number of formal jobs has been on the decline. According to the KNBS, the number of formal jobs decreased from 19 per cent in 2009 to 16.6 per cent in 2017.

Discovering what you can do best without a lot of hustle and bustle is the only way out. Gone are the days when education was the key, now talent is the key. Thanks to social media displaying it has become much easier.

According to survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2018, 7million Kenyans were unemployed with 1.4 million out of this figure desperately looking for jobs.

Youth unemployment should be declared a national emergency:

Young Man gets one-year probation for killing his brother over betting Machine
Young Man gets one-year probation for killing his brother over betting Machine

Increasing rates of Youth Unemployment:

Youth unemployment should be declared a national emergency because it is just that—forcing young Kenyans to live their lives as a daily emergency. Click To Tweet

Youth unemployment should be declared a national emergency because it is just that—forcing young Kenyans to live their lives as a daily emergency.

The unemployment rate is also increasing, and naturally, the youth are the most affected. This is because they are the most energetic lot and compose the bigger proportion of the population seeking jobs.

According to the world population prospects 2006, Young people comprise 15.5% of the total world population. In Africa, youth constitute 14.1% of the total population. UN defines a youth as a person between the ages of 15 and 24 years. In Kenya a youth is defined as a person between the age of 18 and 35 years.

A 2017 World Bank survey:

A 2017 World Bank survey found Kenya had the highest rate of youth unemployment in East Africa, with 17 percent of all young people eligible for work lacking jobs. Neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda had comparable rates of 5.5 and 6.8 percent respectively.

The Kenyan job market is ever evolving and strategies that gave people an edge in the past few years are no longer working. According to professionals actively involved in the Kenyan job space, your life while at university determines your chances of success after graduation. To get guidance on how to avert the unemployment crisis, we got leading experts to offer their advice on the same.

The Nightmare of The Kenyan Youth Bravin Yuri
The Nightmare of The Kenyan Youth – Bravin Yuri

Harsh Environment for Investors:

As if that’s not enough, we are currently dealing with so many companies retrenching people and some even moving businesses to other nations because the environment we have created for investors in Kenya is very harsh.

We are slowly taking the jobs away from the locals and basically creating the opportunities for foreigners especially the Chinese. Click To Tweet

On the other hand, we are basically creating employment for foreigners at the expense of the citizens. The Chinese for example, have been given licenses to run almost all the businesses in Kenya. From construction, Telecommunication, hotel industry to even some working as conductors, hawkers and tour guides.

The Chinese Invasion of Kenya:

We are slowly taking the jobs away from the locals and basically creating the opportunities for foreigners especially the Chinese. Don’t forget that the same Chinese are to run the SGR for 10 years before handing it over to the government.

Mark you, these Chinese aren’t Kenyans but in 10 years to come, most would have had children in Kenya who will by default be Kenyan citizens and guess what, the same money made by the Chinese in the SGR will be used to buy land for them as Kenyans.

Youths in Kenya long queue line up for an interview - The statistics never lie, as hundreds of youth were held up in long queues as they handed in their resumes during a open employment drive by a city hotel on Saturday-CFM NEWS
Youth in Kenya long queue line up for an interview – The statistics never lie, as hundreds of youth were held up in long queues as they handed in their resumes during a open employment drive by a city hotel on Saturday-CFM NEWS

Kenyan Youth turned into a Voting Machines:

The Kenyan youth has been turned into a voting machine where we are only significant to the politicians during elections. Click To Tweet

Let’s not forget the cases where some foreigners strike deals with citizens to be paid to get into marriage contracts with them and later divorce just so that they can remain to be citizens since you don’t lose your citizenship acquired through marriage even after divorce. Basically taking advantages of the loopholes in the constitution. But that’s a story for another day.

The Kenyan youth has been turned into a voting machine where we are only significant to the politicians when the electioneering period id close and neglected when the period is over. In fact, politicians will even call themselves youth when they want to get the votes of the youth. That’s when things like “age is just a number” and “we are mentally youthful” come up.

As youth, we have to reject such gimmicks and treat this as pure lies. Anyone over the age of 35 is not a youth and no matter what they say, they aren’t youth at all. Let them keep their metaphors for these are the types of talks that fail us as the country.

Politicians keep telling the youth to create jobs for themselves, but guess what? After every 5 years, they run to the same youth to ask for a job. Isn’t that ironic? Click To Tweet

In pursuit of fame: Why Kenyan youth fall for cons | PERSPECTIVE

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me”. This is a quote from American actress and comedian Carol Burnett, a quote many Kenyans especially the youth, have put to action either knowingly or unknowingly, to try and better their lives. However, there are cases of those who have resorted to treacherous, forgery, and criminal activities to ensure that they make it in life. So what could be the reason for this trend?

The Story of Heshan De Silva:

Before a public relations firm dumped Heshan de Silva, the Kenyan-born Sri-Lankan was described as a young billionaire at the age of only 25!

He was the ideal model of a successful entrepreneur who struggled with alcoholism, attempted suicide, before discovering self and propelling to billionaires’ club.

He featured on a TV show, Young Rich, where apart from talking about his success, he flaunted ‘his’ expensive earthly belongings including range rover sports.

Then came a press release from the Glass House PR. “Glass House PR will no longer represent Heshan De Silva the brand due to ambiguity and inconsistency presented by the brand.”

The Story of Fadhili Odinga Wilkins:

Until January 26, Wilkins projected a rich, enviable personality which would easily get him a slot on Kenya’s Top 40 under 40.

However, after a story of his supposed treacherous journey in life was highlighted, unmasking the truth of not been the brand strategist to various personalities he had mentioned.

Fadhil has since came out to accept that he extorted money from many Kenyans, to extend of being apologetic. From the interviews he has had since then, Wilkins revealed that he had been living a lie from the onset.

Why sports betting is a curse to Kenyan youth
Why sports betting is a curse to Kenyan youth

Tax Experts: New Excise Tax may breed Underground Online Betting.

Tax experts have faulted  in a bet. They warn of a possible spike in unregulated online betting and possible death of the formal betting industry in Kenya.

They reckon that the proposed 10 percent excise tax on stakes would push the majority of consumers to online, unregulated betting platforms where the government has no control. The Finance Bill 2019, whose passage will bring into force a raft of budgetary tax changes, proposes a raise of the sin tax on beer, cigarettes and gambling. “The new tax adds to the heavy tax burden of 15 per cent betting tax, 30 per cent corporation tax and 20 per cent withholding tax on winnings that the industry is under, and could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back.”

Tackling the country’s gaping budget deficit is going to hurt. So, here is a question for Treasury: What would hurt more, introducing punitive taxes on industries that are seen to be booming like betting or reducing government spending on non-priority projects? Economics tells us that targeted, punitive tax increases like the ones aimed at the betting industry hurt the economy immediately by reducing demand. Increase taxes, and Kenyans would have less money to spend. In most cases, consensus has been reached and amicable middle grounds arrived at. This is after honest debates on the pros and cons of any taxation regimes being put forward.

GeoPoll Survey: Gambling and Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

According to a study done by GeoPoll in 2018, Kenya has the highest number of gambling youth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Sports betting has become the most popular form of gambling, on the rise of sports betting in the continent. In Kenya gambling is classified and positioned as a legitimate recreational and leisure activity. The rise of mobile and online based gambling has presented new challenges to the regulatory board amidst growing concerns on addiction towards sports betting.

The success of the gambling industry is also evidenced by increasing advertisements in media such as newspapers, TV and radio.

The Government suffered a huge blow in its bid to control the betting craze after the High Court quashed a ban on outdoor and online advertisement of gambling in May.

Justice John Mativo ruled that the ban issued by the Betting Control and Licensing Board, which also required betting firms to display a warning message in their adverts about the consequences of gambling, was unconstitutional, illegal and procedurally unfair.

Kenyan Youth – When the Solution is Treated like the Problem:

They are the beginning of all the false promises they make even in the manifestos. Right now in Kenya, the youth face so many challenges that not even words can substantiate enough. Youth have been made to look like they are the problem of the nation rather than the solution to the problems that the nation is facing.

We have so many youth with various skills and qualified to undertake several job opportunities. In spite of this, the government will prefer to call someone from retirement to come back to work. The youth are left to struggle with poverty and unemployment.

We have as a nation, left the youth to suffer and perish. The downfalls being: Depression, Drug addiction, poverty and the latest nightmare is gambling. So many youth have shifted to gambling with the hope that they will one day be able to be millionaires. But the reality is that at the end of the day, ‘The House Always Wins’.

We have as a nation, left the youth to suffer and perish in the arms of Depression, Drug addiction, poverty and the latest nightmare is gambling. Click To Tweet

Is Overtaxing betting firms detrimental to the economy?

Overtaxing betting firms is detrimental to the economy. Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri hands over a dummy cheaque to Sportpesa Jackpot winner. [File, Standard]
Overtaxing betting firms is detrimental to the economy. Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri hands over a dummy cheaque to Sportpesa Jackpot winner. [File, Standard]

We have seen so many youth commit suicide. Usually because the team they support lost a match they had placed a bet on. Many have used their school fees to bet hoping to quickly increase the money they have in vain.

Some even end up becoming thieves just to get some money to bet. The saddest scenario is where a gambler decides to sleep hungry but use the ksh.100 that they have to bet. Quenching the thirst of your addiction at the expense of your health.

Gambling has also opened up a leeway to money laundering among other things. Despite the sponsorships that some of these companies give to the sports in the country, if you weigh the positive impacts Vis a Vis the negative, then definitely you will realize the negative outweighs the positive.

Betting Companies are feeding off Gambling Addicts:

Youths demonstrate outside the entrance of a company in Kisumu. Unemployment means a brutal and harsh life for many young people. FILE PHOTO - NMG
Youth demonstrate outside the entrance of a company in Kisumu. Unemployment means a brutal and harsh life for many young people. FILE PHOTO – NMG

These companies feed off gambling addicts who need medical attention. Serious rehabilitation. I would say more about gambling. However, I can also feel the gamblers reading this already boiling in rage. With many words they would want to splash on my face but hey, gambling is a right you know.

However, gambling was meant for the rich but currently, most gamblers are poor people and guess who owns the ‘House’? The rich folks. Siphoning every penny from you as you get poorer and poorer.

Which Door is Opened by the Key of Education?

Politicians keep telling the youth to create jobs for themselves, but guess what? After every 5 years, they run to the same youth to ask for a job. Isn’t that ironic? Click To Tweet

It is currently very difficult to convince somebody in Kenya that Education is the key to success. Especially, when we have very many criminals masquerading as successful people. Mostly learned are living a very horrible life. Jobless, drug addicts, alcoholics etc.

Politicians keep telling the youth to create jobs for themselves, but guess what? After every 5 years, they run to the same youth to ask for a job. Isn’t that ironic?

They seat in parliament, fail to make policies that will empower the youth. After that, they still want the same youth to create jobs for themselves. Pathetic! We have so many youth who are engineers, doctors, e.t.c. Ironically, the engineering jobs are handed to the Chinese as the Cuban doctors enjoy lucrative payment on the other hand.

A section of youths who completed a one day training on access to government procurement opportunities (AGPO) program in Kibera on February 13, 2019. Image- COLLINS KWEYU
A section of youth who completed a one day training on access to government procurement opportunities (AGPO) program in Kibera on February 13, 2019. Image- COLLINS KWEYU

Uncountable Mobile Lending Apps digging Kenyan Youth deeper into Loans and Debt:

Then we have these mobile lending apps that have made it impossible for youth to even prosper. They have huge lending rates and have made many youth to be blacklisted by CRB. Not forgetting that some of these youth have HELB loans to clear. How can they do so when they are unemployed?

It is a huge dilemma that the youth have to face. Additionally, there are penalties for late payments of at least ksh. 5k per month. How would a Kenya youth who can’t even afford food to eat be able to service these debts?

This is just a catalyst of the many suicide cases we come by. Pressure from parents and society to be something when you definitely can’t see a way out rather out your way out of this word.

A sad generation indeed hiding behind emojis, memes and jokes:

We keep saying youth are the future of tomorrow, how can that be true when today alone isn’t guaranteed? Click To Tweet

It is imperative that the plights of the youth be addressed. Otherwise, we might not have a future for this country. We keep saying youth are the future of tomorrow, how can that be true when today alone isn’t guaranteed?

Do we mean that the future of this country has come to this: Gambling addiction, Drug abuse, Cancer, Unemployment and many other things along that line? Is that the type of future that we really want for Kenya? We are a sad generation indeed hiding behind emojis, memes and jokes.

It is therefore up to the youth to take up the mantle and change things. Otherwise, nobody will make anything better for them. Youth are treated like criminals by police. It is even worse for the youth with dreadlocks… The government sees them as a problem that needs to be solved rather than a solution to other problems and more.

Youth need to rise up and demand for their position in the society. One day it will get better. It always does.

DOWNLOAD: The Woes of the Young Kenyan Entrepreneur – Paul Mutuku

Further Reading:

  1. The World Bank In Kenya
  2. Youth Unemployment: Challenges & Opportunities in Economic Development
  3. Kenya: Unemployment rate
The study conducted by a pan-African research network, AfroBarometer, reveals that at least 35 percent of Kenyan youth have at some point considered leaving the country to live abroad. FILE PHOTO - NMG
The study conducted by a pan-African research network, AfroBarometer, reveals that at least 35 percent of Kenyan youth have at some point considered leaving the country to live abroad. FILE PHOTO – NMG