Third Eye

Embrace youth entrepreneurship for prosperity

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Census. Photo/Courtesy

Youth entrepreneurship remains pivotal to the continuity of the manufacturing sector.

As we continue to take up industry 4.0, it is the innovations and inventions of young people that will assist to integrate new technologies and systems into our operations.  

 According to United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs PopFacts, the number of youth in Africa is growing rapidly.

In 2015, 226 million youth aged 15-24 lived in Africa, accounting for 19 per cent of the global youth population.

By 2030, it is projected that the number of youth in Africa will have increased by 42 per cent.

Africa’s youth population is expected to continue to grow throughout the remainder of the 21st Century, more than doubling by 2055. 

 Even with this, many African countries that have been endowed with a youthful population continue to struggle.

The ability to educate young people, provide employment and adequate healthcare are key challenges which strain sustainable economic development. 

 Kenya is well known for its youthful population. According to the 2019 Population and Census, 75 per cent of the 47.6 million population is under the age of 35.

Though cumbered by continuous unemployment and lack of opportunities, a youthful population provides Kenya with a promise for an advanced and more productive future if well nurtured 

 Without a doubt, a youthful population is beneficial. Not only does this group provide an opportunity to expand the tax base because of their ability to provide a large workforce.

It is also a large market for goods and services, and with better connectivity, has the ability to enhance local, regional and global trade.  

It is critical that we invest in this population to boost our social economic development. These can be done in several ways. 

 First, we must be cognisant of the value of technical skills to steer entrepreneurship, competence and innovation.

By providing the necessary skills, we can establish a large pool of educated workers with increased creativity and innovation.

These will assist to expand productivity and diversity and positively influence economic progress through cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

Additionally, technical skills provide a platform for increased creation of jobs in both manufacturing and in the service industry.  

 Second, we must establish pathways for young innovators and entrepreneurs.

Topping this is the need to develop incentives that encourage more young people to get into entrepreneurship as well as policies, that will ensure that their enterprises remain in a constant state of continuous improvement.

More so, we need to see an increase in the number of young people involved in policy development and implementation, to ensure that decisions made are cognisant of the needs and desires of young people in the country. 

 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guide on Unlocking the Potential of Youth Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries outlines that to ensure progress of youth entrepreneurs, the government should target interventions and tailor them to the specific challenges and needs of young entrepreneurs, invest in comprehensive entrepreneurship programmes and reallocate resources to promising youthful innovations.

Additionally, integrate entrepreneurship education in formal schooling to provide young people with different sets of competencies. 

 Third, the health and wellbeing of our youth needs to be properly addressed to allow them to flourish.

We must be keen on societal issues that are currently thumping the progress of young people including alcoholism, unemployment, stress and mental illness, social status and the ‘need to fit in’. Mentorship is one of the key avenues to address these issues. 

Leaders in different spheres should take an active role in mentoring young people to ensure that we tap into and maximise their potential for the social economic growth for all.  

If we can harness these few tactics to embrace youth entrepreneurship, we will reap substantive social economic benefits in the future. — The writer is the CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers  [email protected] 

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