Kenya’s Unemployment Paradox-Shortage Of Skilled Workers


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Kenya's Unemployment Paradox-Shortage Of Skilled Workers
Kenya’s Unemployment Paradox-Shortage Of Skilled Workers. PHOTO/COURTESY

In recent times, the escalating unemployment rate in Kenya has sparked concern among analysts and conscientious citizens alike. The ramifications of this growing issue, including the surge in rural-urban migration, an upswing in mortality rates, a surge in criminal activities, brain drain, the rise of prostitution and child trafficking, increased admissions to psychiatric hospitals, reduced payroll tax contributions, and even the emergence of insurgency, have woven themselves into the very fabric of Kenyan society.


As this complex problem festers, a plethora of solutions have been proposed at various junctures. Among these suggestions are streamlining the civil service, implementing an effective family planning system, bolstering youth empowerment initiatives, providing enhanced support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), promoting agricultural mechanisation, nurturing industrial development and infrastructure, refining school curricula to emphasize practical skills, achieving a harmonious blend of local and expatriate labour in contracting work, and fostering a spirit of self-discovery and creativity among the nation’s youth.


However, a closer examination reveals a counterintuitive reality – a shortage of skilled workers. One can’t help but ponder why a nation with a police force numbering less than 250,000 officers tasked with safeguarding a populace of approximately 60 million is grappling with unemployment. This situation, it appears, is a puzzle that could be addressed by redeploying just a fraction of those police personnel into sectors facing manpower shortages. Even though Kenya is home to a large pool of unemployed graduates, particularly those with degrees in education and related fields, the education sector still cries out for a stronger numerical force of teachers.


Remarkably, over 7,000 Kenyan doctors have sought employment abroad, with many seeking opportunities in Europe, Saudi Arabia, and beyond. This puzzling trend reveals a gaping disparity – while we lament the shortage of doctors in Kenyan hospitals, a substantial number of qualified medical professionals from the country are contributing to healthcare systems elsewhere. Such a paradox!


Harking back to the village life of yore, Agricultural Extension workers once played an integral role in educating farmers about innovative agricultural techniques. Today, their presence is felt less frequently and with diminished vigour. Engaging a state director from the Ministry of Agriculture on this matter yielded a simple truth: insufficient manpower impedes the continuation of effective agricultural extension programmes. Given the pivotal role agriculture plays in ensuring food security and national development, the alarming unemployment rate in Kenya demands an end to the lamentation of inadequate manpower.


An insidious issue plaguing Kenya’s civil service is the presence of “ghost” workers, individuals who exist only on paper but drain resources and exacerbate unemployment. Addressing this concern requires concerted efforts from both national and county governments to eradicate these phantom employees. By identifying and purging these “ghosts,” the path will be cleared for genuinely qualified graduates and young individuals to secure meaningful employment. It’s astonishing that sectors like Kenya Customs, the military, and immigration are grappling with staff shortages while an ostensibly high 14 per cent unemployment rate persists.


In view of these alarming contradictions, the onus falls on various tiers of government to act promptly and resolve this paradox. The repercussions of inaction are already gnawing at the foundations of the national economy. In the face of such an imperative, it is only fitting for Kenyan society to channel its energy into addressing this challenge head-on. After all, it is in the darkest of hours that the brightest solutions are often conceived.

By Kelvin Nyamache: Diaspora Messenger Columnist/Contributor

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐖𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝗞𝗲𝗹𝘃𝗶𝗻 𝗡𝘆𝗮𝗺𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲, 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿, 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿, 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵. 𝗛𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗵𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗹𝘆-𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿. 𝗞𝗲𝗹𝘃𝗶𝗻 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹𝘀, 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽𝘀, 𝗰𝗵𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀, 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘇𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗳𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺𝘀𝗲𝗹𝘃𝗲𝘀. 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗻𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁. 𝗛𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 +𝟮𝟱𝟰𝟳𝟵𝟴𝟴𝟴𝟵𝟱𝟭𝟬.


Kenya’s Unemployment Paradox-Shortage Of Skilled Workers

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