Kenya is importing hustlers and we should celebrate it

Nairobi is attracting economic immigrants. That could be good for the economy. [XN Iraki, Standard]

It could have passed just as “kanjo” harassing the hawkers, except that the victim was a young boy aged 14 and a Burundian.

How many such boys are working in Kenya, mostly in the informal sector? How did he come to Kenya?

What does the presence of such economic immigrants say about the Kenyan economy?

 Does it demonstrate we are not just welcoming to expatriates but to hustlers as well?

Despite all the sentiments about our economy, it’s still a refuge for other nationalities, more so from less developed countries. They are targeting jobs we disdain such as barbers, cooking, playing music, hawking and housekeeping. Lots of house girls or domestic workers are imported from neighbouring countries. 

They are attracted by our high living standards and the exchange rate. Kenyans in the United States (US) or Europe benefit from exchange rates too.

The nationalities from “near abroad” probably send money home just like Kenyans from majuu. The exchange rate “expands” the money.

Kenyans have become status-conscious and left some jobs for “others.” Kenyans are not attracted by manual jobs, and if they do, their price is too high. The economic immigrants have no problem with such jobs. 

If I am an entrepreneur, I would love to lower my costs through lower wages and salaries. Ever wondered why illegal immigrants in the US have never been rounded up and sent home? Ask a hard-nosed economist. 

It’s also possible that Kenyan population growth has slowed and there is demand for labour.

Refugees or immigrants feel the void. Is that why the government want to make it easier for them to work? 

The plight of this Burundian boy begs another question. How do we integrate immigrants? Do we see them as a resource or a liability?

The truth is that immigrant labour tends to be cheaper and moderates the surges in wages and salaries. 

Vulnerable, and away from home, it’s easy to accept lower wages. It’s lower by our standards.

Kenyans in majuu (abroad) might not think their wages or salaries are low compared to Kenyan standards.

The presence of economic refugees in Kenya should be celebrated; our economy is coming of age. There is something for everyone, even immigrants.

We hope as we leave lower-level jobs to immigrants, we are shifting to higher-level jobs, not joblessness.

Could such economic immigrants be a sign that the East African Community is working?  Are they confirming we are very hospitable?

The immigrants will bring new thinking and skills and could enrich our genetic pool, good for the economy in the long run. Met these economic immigrants? What are they doing? What do you love about them?