Yesterday we got an interesting comment on an old post Kenya’s Youth Council Bill is merely a means to keep the old guard on top:
I have a suspicion you might be interested in an ongoing blogging discussion between Al Kags (alkags.com) and Sonia (http://sonia.elimisha.us). The two bloggers are having a debate on their individual blogs (each blogging their response on their own blogs).
The discussion: is national policy in Kenya actually appropriately set to support young people effectively and are the funds available in Kenya being appropriately used to make Kenyan youth successful?
It would be great to see your views (maybe on your blog) on the subject
On reading both posts (sides), here is our two cents worth:
There is absolutely no point in promoting enterprise among the youth unless they are competitive.
Last year regarding the reason why many youth-owned enterprises collapse within 12 months, we posted the following:
“Taking a walk through African cities, one notices that the enterprises being operated by the youth are generally service oriented, and fall within a narrow category of retail business types. There is hardly any manufacturing and even more disturbing is the lack of innovativeness on the part of youth entrepreneurs. Just how many pirated DVD shops can a city have? The answer to that question depends on how many young entrepreneurs there are. This may sound cynical, but if one just strolls through Africa’s business districts patterns of mobile phone accessory shops, small clothing stalls and the emerging number of cramped cyber café’s tell the story of an over-saturation of enterprise but no individual firm growth. It’s no wonder most of these outfits hardly last a year, when the young entrepreneurs venture into the next big thing in small business.”
You can get the full post here http://yipeorg.blogspot.com/2009/06/ethical-business-revolution-is-emerging.html
Therefore as well meaning and consultative as the National Youth Policy is, to us at Yipe there is no point in having a policy or National Youth Council or even a Youth Enterprise Fund, for that matter if all we do is regurgitate the same old business ideas.
So even though as Sonia says “the National Youth Policy did to help organize young people and more importantly those who support youth led development” at the end of the day the only realistic youth development policy is (to put it crudely) the one that puts enough money in their pockets. And the only way to do that in an economy where youth unemployment constitutes 78% of total unemployment is to promote growth and competitive oriented sustainable enterprises.