OGI Kenya

Policy Brief Inequality thrive where policies fail

In summary, this brief presents a review of job creation policy intervention in Kenya. It reviews policies formulated and implemented by the government of Kenya to address unemployment over the past half a century since 1963, with a focus on the assessment of efficiency and effectiveness of adopted interventions to create new, quality and sustainable jobs to meet highly growing and skilled young labor force.

Over the past half a century, the government of Kenya adopted several policies segmented into three typologies according to Omollo (2012). These were: a) Kenyanization and tripartite agreements (1963-1979); b) active labor market policies (1980-1989) and; c) macroeconomic management (1990-2011). In the post-2011 period, the government shifted focus to the creation of jobs through public works programs such as Kazi Kwa Vijana (KKV – jobs for youth), National Youth Service (NYS) as well as most recent efforts to strengthen the informal sector through structural, legal and legislative reforms towards ease of doing business.

Reorganization, replacement of non-locals in the job market and enhanced linkages between supply and demand sides of the labor market are notable achievements during this period, with insignificant effects on the creation of new, quality and sustainable jobs. Most jobs created were low paying and temporary labor-based employment.

Corruption, policy inefficiencies and inadequate civic engagement of beneficiaries in the formulation, execution and, evaluation of policy interventions are fundamental factors that undermine job creation.  Also noted is a weak learning framework as well as limited involvement of young people. As a result of notable inadequacies of these policies, young people, especially those in rural areas, low-income families and minority communities remain highly marginalized in the job market especially in regards to access to formal and quality jobs.

There is a critical need to better align policy and budgetary interventions to the needs of the target beneficiaries. This requires that the process in which budget and policy priorities are designed must be open, transparent and sufficiently participatory to accommodate the voices of young people. Interventions must also be regularly evaluated to assess the impact and learnings from implementation. Read more >>>

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