The national youth policy (2006) of Kenya defines youth as between 15 to 30 years. The majority of Kenya’s population falls in this gap. Youth in Kenya are talented in sports, the arts and entertainment. The youth unemployment problem is on the increase as Kenya’s universities churn out thousands of graduates each year. Realistically, the number of graduates produced every year cannot be absorbed into the labour force of Kenya. This seems to be the development dilemma every government faces.
With the coming in of the Jubilee government in 2013, the jubilee manifesto focused mainly in investing on the youth through improvement of education, infrastructure, and access to opportunities such as SMEs for the youth. However, most of the policies proposed are yet to be implemented 5 years on. The unemployment levels are on the rise as more youth engage in crime and drug abuse as a result.
Many youth engage in talents that is earning them respect from their peers and self-employment. The jua kali sector is a great example of young people using skills and talents to create employment opportunities. Young people are coming together to form bands for example Hart the band, Sauti Sol, Elani among others who use their musical talent to create their own employment and help others coming into the music industry.
Talent is inborn and can also be developed as a result of passion and interest. Other developed nations for instance the United States of America encourage the development of talent potential that eventually drives the economy. Many young people for example in the United States are in the acting industry and earn millions through film production and acting. Education is important and is the foundation of key skill development. However, Talent cannot be overlooked in skill enhancement and development in developing countries such as Kenya.
Africa needs to focus on developing of talents for sustainable development. A talent does not cut off creativity rather enhances it and the youth have a lot of energy that can be put to good use. For instance many graffiti artists are making a living off painting public service vehicles.
If we put this into figures, it results in huge percentages of profit for government. Many families can afford healthcare, better housing, access to education, food and eventually overcome poverty. Talent development will ensure that the crime rate is reduced as more young people will receive an incentive from using their talents in a positive way to enhance their lives and those of their families.
Talent no doubt drives innovation which leads to sustained livelihoods and economies. There have been innovations in ICT, healthcare, mobile money,among others and still others are coming up. Talent can so easily be used to train others for example ladies who engage in basket weaving, or making of bags and other accessories as a talent can train others hence we have a self-sufficient society and community.
The government needs to create talent development centres for young people to share knowledge and train others to have a self sustaining nation that will drive economic growth through talent development. There needs to be encouragement of talent development over employment. After all not everyone can be absorbed into the market. The alternative plan of action will therefore be to have talent developed and managed properly.
A system of integrity needs to be built to ensure good governance of talent management. There should be a policy on the youth to guide on the institution that will manage the youth affairs in Kenya.
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