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Kenya must invest in its young people to prosper

By Raphael Obonyo
Friday, July 16th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
President Uhuru Kenyatta with ODM leader Raila Odinga after receiving the BBI report from the steering committee at Kisii State Lodge on October 20, last year. Photo/PD/FILE

It was very impressive to see young lawyers competing with experienced legal minds during the hearing of the Building Bridges Initiative case at the Court of Appeal. 

This was a reflection of a different face of Kenya that is often times ignored – that the country is largely being driven by young people.

This is more so in the private sector where the society has been flexible in responding to new dynamics and taping from the great potential that our young professionals harbour.

Despite their significant importance in various spheres of life, young people are excluded on the pretext that they lack experience when it comes to public sector.

The world has undergone a huge transformation, giving  young people fresh ideas, energy and creativity that has watered down the widely held view that experience comes with many years of practice.

One of the key drivers of enhancing the potential of young people is the role of technology which has helped to nurture creativity that helps young people to gain working experience without necessarily working for many years.

They are also restless and the government has not been able to adjust its working character to attract and retain young professionals.

Young professionals can bring about the much-needed changes in society if they are involved more to find answers that respond to the problems that we face each day.

Most importantly, young professionals can bring the energy and breath of fresh air that we need to move forward.

Unfortunately, and in in many cases, young minds are walking into organisations that still embrace bureaucratic processes that deny them space to initiate the needed changes.

It’s not always an easy process, but no true transformation is painless. It involves soul searching and changing ways of working that sometimes have been in place for one’s entire professional life.

Noteworthy, Kenya is a youthful country. Kenyans aged between 15 and 34 years form about 36 per cent of the  population.

With the largest youth population in history, the country has the greatest opportunity, because, with each young person, we have new ideas and new energy.

We have a common responsibility to review the place of young people in the country by putting in place practical actions to improve their position and condition.

As Kofi Annan once said, a society that fails to tap into the creativity and energies of young people will be left behind.

Across the country, leaders are getting younger, especially with the advent of the 2010 Constitution.

Kenya’s Senate is ranked as the most youthful in Africa for having the highest number of young senators.

Young people are a tremendous asset worth investing in, which is why it is very important not to overlook the influence of the youth especially young professionals. — The writer is a Public Policy Analyst — [email protected] com

Raphael Obonyo

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