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Is Kenya getting dehustled?

By XN Iraki | November 17th 2021
By XN Iraki | November 17th 2021

Woman wearing a protective face mask [Courtesy]

The hustler movement seems to have reached its apogee in the political circles. It’s now under threat from the mainstream politics, not much by frontal attack but adopting some of its ideas or tweaking them.

But something else has been happening silently; our economy is being dehustled as Kenyans shift to higher skill levels.

Think of it, in the tea growing regions, it’s not unusual to find non Kenyans picking tea, the same applies to mitumba sellers, barbers, and house girls. In the countryside, getting a farmhand is very hard. The young men and women dislike ‘low skilled’ work, they prefer to be digital. It is another question if they do something productive online. The private security industry is also being dehustled, but this one is more fascinating; can you explain?

What is happening in Kenya closely mimic USA where immigrants do the ‘dirty work’. Beyond more emphasis on women rights expounded by several court cases, dehustlization is the other indicator that Kenya is joining the league of developed countries quietly. Other indicators of our growth trajectory includes, greater focus on infrastructure, more use of technology in our homes and workplaces and extreme individualism. Add corruption as everyone comes to know the ‘sweetness of money’ without work.

Is dehustlization good for us? Yes and no. Yes because we can now shift to higher skills which are likely to be better paying and rewarding. Did developed countries not do the same? But vast majority might not be ready for the change, they either lack the skills or view technology with suspicion.

Dehustlization will most likely lead to class of affluent citizens and an underclass of low skilled workers but with better pay because they will be fewer. A middle class might bridge the gap but greater adoption of technology could lead to a ‘squeezed’ middle class, an economy that looks more like a vase.

If you look at your skill set and project that into the next ten years you can predict where you will be on the vase. Does your place on the vase make you smile?

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