BY BRENDA VIOLA
Growing in this day and age is quite a challenge. But with the technological advances occurring across the globe, the common youth can still make a breakthrough – at least that is the case in the first world countries like England, USA, and Japan.
In countries which are still developing, like Kenya, the experience is quite different. The lack of jobs in the country, for example, is no longer news to the youth. For young people, the next best thing is to be self-employed, and even that proves a challenge. An alternative could be to engage in one of the initiatives introduced by the government, like the National Youth Services, or the Ajira Digital Program. But, why is it always hard for young people to reap from such government initiatives?
I thought devolution would make things better for the youth of this country. Resources were to be divided equally across the 47 counties, making it easier for the youth to access not only the government offices, but also services. I was wrong. It is nearly a decade yet some senior people have ably failed to show young people the ropes.
Recently, there was a call to select the individuals who would participate in conducting the census exercise. Most of those who applied for the job thought devolution was finally starting to pay off. However, there were other ways of selecting candidates – it became apparent that one needed powerful “connections” to be considered for the positions.
Social media posts about how “only connections will get you the job” went viral across all the social media platforms. It was no longer a secret that corruption played a significant role in the selection process. These allegations were only cemented when news about one administrator arrested for corruption claims reached the common “mwananchi” through the mainstream media.
These reports only provoked more questions such as: Who are the corrupt government officers? Why are young people paying bribes? And, is it a strategy to eclipse the nation’s youth?
It is time young people re-strategised – since jobs are scarce, the best way to get out of the woods is by launching a business. A vegetable kiosk, welding and fabrication shop, a juice bar, or hawking porridge and tea to workers at construction sites can go a long way. All these are business ideas with potential in them.
There has been several business permits and licenses that the national and county governments require. To make life easy for investors especially the young people with a knack for business, all the many licenses ought to be merged.
At the end of it all, the cost of permits, licenses and regulations should be reasonable. With Kenyan youth struggling with cash flow and capital challenges, a country-wide waiver of business permits will go a long way. If the issues of business licenses are not solved, there will be endless cries from the young people.