Creating more and better jobs in Kenya

From AfricaCan End Poverty Tue Dec 18 2012, 14:59:49

Gabriel Demombynes

Jobs are central to our lives: after all, we spend most of our time at work, trying to make a living. And it's not just about what we earn. As the 2013 World Development Report argues, our work fundamentally defines who we are as people with important implications for our social relations and psychological well-being.

Each year, there are one million new Kenyans. Unlike in the past, this rapid population growth is driven by people living longer instead of having more children. This means that an increasing share of the population is of working age. What does it mean for Kenya's economy and social stability? How can these young adults find a job--ideally a good job--and what needs to be done to help them succeed?

Young people are job seekers but also jobs creators. This is precisely why the ongoing demographic transition is both a challenge and an opportunity. Job prospects will improve in Kenya as young adults increasingly move out of family farming, to seek better prospects in cities. At the same time, out of the 800,000 Kenyans who reach working age each year, only about 50,000 are likely to find a "modern wage job", securing a stable source of income. Others will evolve professionally in a grey area between traditional family farming and modern blue or white color jobs.

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