Employment Creation Potential for Youth of Growth Sectors in the Kenyan Economy

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Onsomu, Eldah Nyamoita
Munga, Boaz Omori
Mujuri, Bonface Munene
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African Economic Research Consortium
Generating jobs for a growing population is a critical challenge that Africa faces. An additional 20 million young people will enter the working age population each year over the next decade. Africa has managed to generate economic growth since the mid-1990s, but this type of growth has failed to be inclusive, transformative and job rich. The quality of the jobs generated is low. African countries have managed to absorb the volume of young people migrating from rural areas by generating low productivity, low paid jobs in traditional services sector in their cities. The development of key sectors with productivity growth potential (sector transformation) and structural change is critical for the economic transformation process and hence for increases in jobs and income, including for the young. Covid-19 has affected economic structures, consumer preferences, production processes and trade practices. The crisis has accelerated previous trends (e.g. the rise of e-commerce) and led to new demand and production patterns (e.g. an increase in home working). The dramatic fall in the global demand of garments and travel – to name a few of the manifestations of the crisis – may require recalibrating economic transformation and development strategies. Despite these challenges, targeted or sectoral policies will continue to be essential to the development of any key sector, and some sectors are better able to absorb labour. In this sense, it is critical to identify which sectors present the greatest potential to boost productive employment. This involves assessing sectors’ employment and productivity. With a growing influx of young people and women participating in the market, labour supply is expected to be sufficient, in the short- and medium-term, to cover demand. In the paper which this brief summarise we propose a four-step framework to identify and create opportunities to create jobs for young men and women. Section 2 identifies the problem which the paper is trying to address. Section 3 provides the framework for analysis This framework offers guidance for country researchers who can be following this up and examine specific questions, using appropriate methods.