‘Inclusive’ BBI won’t create jobs if youths are denied a voice

Census results reveal youths make up 75% of Kenyan population

In Summary

• Disillusioned youths have turned to crime or suicide due to disappointment. 

• World Bank projects that the unemployment rate will rise to 10.5 per cent this year. 

Men advertise their skills.
YOUTHS' BIGGEST WORRY: Men advertise their skills.

According to the 2019 Census results released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 35.7 million Kenyans ( 75.1 per cent) are aged below 35.

This clearly shows that the youth constitute a bigger chunk of the Kenyan population. It is thus surprising to note that the voice of young people has been conspicuously missing in the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative discourse.

In case the BBI process leads to a referendum and constitutional change, it is the youth who will be under the new dispensation now and in the future. This might explain why critical issues that are dear to young people are not being mentioned.

For example, unemployment is one of the greatest challenges facing the Kenyan youth today. This had led to disillusionment, disappointments, turning to crime and in extreme cases suicide. The World Bank projects that the unemployment rate will rise to 10.5 per cent this year further dimming the prospects of young people getting jobs.

These are the issues that the BBI report should focus on. A disillusioned youth and the bulging population is a recipe for chaos. If youth unemployment is addressed, then the other agenda can be pursued.


Youth engagement specialist