As the old adage goes, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift from God. That’s why it’s called the present.
Many challenges face the Kenyan youth today, but the opportunities far outweigh the difficulties. They have much for which to be grateful. And they are aware of it. A recent survey backs this up. It showed that the overwhelming majority of young people, if given the opportunity to trade their citizenship for that of another country, would choose to stay here.
One might assume that a typical mwananchi is sick with symptoms of “the grass is always greener.” This is not the case. The poll showed that young Kenyans are far more excited about their prospects here, and are hopeful about employment rates improving. They are willing to make an investment in Kenya with hard work and patience.
So why are there still so many naysayers? Negative attitudes about our country’s prospects fail to take into account significant gains in development since President Uhuru Kenyatta took office. There is no good reason for a gloomy attitude when thinking about the brightness of Kenya’s rapidly industrialising economy.
Opportunities are plentiful for young people. Modifications to our education system will be realised in coming years as more young people are trained with vocational and technical skills to meet the demands of a 21st-century economy.
As State House spokesperson Kanze Dena recently noted, new employment opportunities emerge each and every day. That number is growing.
The Kenya Youth Employment & Opportunities Project (KYEOP), a partnership between government and the World Bank, aims to “increase employment and earning opportunities for youth aged between 18-29 years through various skills training and entrepreneurship support.”
It targets youth whose highest level of education was high school, or have never been to school, or those who are working in what would be considered vulnerable jobs.
KYEOP was developed as a response to the need for job creation, and helps people in their twenties launch their own businesses and create new roles for themselves, either as self-employed individuals or as qualified and promising employees of existing companies.
The project is comprised of several comprehensive components shaped by the Kenyan economy to work towards improving youth employability. It provides training and work experience (internships) to youth, in both the informal and formal sectors.
The need to train workers for the informal sector shows that the programme is realistically working with the situation on the ground, rather than rolling out government sponsored programs that do not fit the needs of the community.
Initiatives like these address our country’s specific needs, and are the reason why Kenyan young people are hopeful. They are not interested in changing their citizenship for elsewhere in Africa or even Europe and North America because this is one of the most exciting times to be in our country.
The Silicon Savannah is producing more innovative start-ups and technologies than anywhere else in Africa. Our economy is well on track to reaching middle income status in line with the Vision 2030 development goals.
Young people are not dwelling on the country’s past difficulties, nor are they obsessing over what will happen in 20 years time. That is because they have a great deal of confidence in what is going on right now. This hope is based on trust in the current strong leadership.
Kenya has one of the largest youth populations in the world, and it is growing. As of the year 2017, almost 10 million people, or about 20 per cent of our population, were under the age of 14. Furthermore, about 60 per cent of our population is under the age of 25.
Their belief in Kenya will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We should all be inspired by their blazing positivity that Kenya is the place to be in Africa right now.
If we have faith in the success of our nation, and work on contributing to it each and every day, the future will soon become a gift as well.
- The writer is an IT specialist and comments on topical issues.