Boom or Bust -Education Will Determine Africa’s Transformation

President Uhuru Kenyatta meets young Kenyan artists at the State
House-Photo State House

By Francis Owino and Siddharth Chatterjee
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 2019 (IPS)

August 12, marks International Youth Day, and the theme for this
year is ‘making education more relevant, equitable and
inclusive’, is particularly apt for Africa. Consider this. Every
24 hours around 35,000 African youth are looking for work.

The youth make up 37% of the working-age population in Africa,
but 60% of the unemployed. Though Africa continues to post
impressive gains in education enrolment rates, challenges of
access, quality and relevance of education in the continent remain

The region has the highest number of out-of-school children;
four in ten learners score poorly in literacy and numeracy; and the
systems are producing many graduates whose skills do not meet the
workforce requirements. Estimates indicate that a dollar invested
in an additional year of schooling, particularly for girls,
generates earnings and health benefits of $10 in low-income
countries and nearly $4 in lower-middle income countries.

By 2050, Africa will be home to about 830 million
young people
, meaning that at current trends, the challenge
will only become tougher.

Francis Owino

In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta pushed for education reforms to
prepare the youth for a new era. The National Policy on Curriculum
Reforms, whose vision is “nurturing every learner’s
potential” is anchored on the African Union’s Agenda 2063,
which includes education aspirations to catalyze an education and
skills revolution with a greater role assigned to the Private

Clearly, the road towards achieving SDG 4 – to ensure
inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong
learning opportunities for all – requires bold and innovative
action. This is why education must be at the heart of private
sector engagement in the journey towards the SDGs.

It is also in line with the UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio
Guterres’s call for the reformed UN to make a “strategic pivot
from ad-hoc, transactional partnerships to longer-term,
‘transformational’ partnerships designed for scale”. This
will involve collaboration between the UN Global Compact and UN
country teams to better mobilize local business communities.

To prepare Kenya’s young people to face the challenges of a
rapidly changing world and to build on existing national leadership
on young people, the country has joined
Generation Unlimited
as one of its key partners. President
Uhuru Kenyatta, a global champion of Generation Unlimited, has
established a high-level steering committee co-chaired by the
Government and the UN to guide the implementation of Generation
Unlimited in the country, as well concrete steps to attract public
and private partnerships in support of its goals.

Siddharth Chatterjee

To set the Youth Agenda on a transformative trajectory, the
Government approved and is set to roll out the Kenya Youth
Development Policy (KYDP) (2019). This Policy is an expression of
the collective commitment of concerned stakeholders to harness and
optimize the strengths and opportunities that the youth present
while addressing the personal and structural barriers that affect
their productivity

More significantly, the policy is an outcome of a broad based
consultative process that is designed to robustly address eight (8)
Priority areas namely: realize a healthy and productive youth
population; build qualified and competent youth workforce for
sustained social economic development (farming, manufacturing);
create opportunities for youth to earn decent and sustainable
livelihood; develop youth talent, creativity and innovation for
wealth creation; nurture value, moral, ethical generation of
patriotic youth for transformative leadership; effective civic
participation and representation among the youth; promote a crime
free, secure, peaceful and united Kenya where no young Kenyan is
left behind; and support youth engagement in environmental
management for sustainable development.

This has been successfully done by the setting up of safe spaces
for youth through the establishment of the 152 Youth Empowerment
Centers (YECs) across the country as One Stop Shop for the youth
services. They feature myriad of services to the youth such as a
counselling center, an ICT Hub, indoor recreation facilities,
affirmative fund desks/focal points, and outdoor game facilities.
The Government’s efforts have been fully complemented by both the
County Governments, the Private Sector and UN Agencies by adoption
and enhancing the variety of services offered in the YECs.

The YECs provide youth friendly services intended to address
their physical, psychological and socio-economic needs.

The One Stop Youth Center concept, which is a product of
partnerships between the UN and the Government, utilizes an
integrated approach to youth development by providing youth with
safe spaces in urban settings where they can meet and access
information and resources critical to youth-led development
including peace building, research and policy development. The
model is in line with the Kenya Vision 2030 blue-print and the Big4
agenda which emphasizes on opportunity creation.

The UN in Kenya is scaling up its partnership with the
Government in efforts to reform education, as reflected under the
UN Development Assistance Framework’s, Pillar 2- Human Capital
Development. The outcome is to ensure the continent’s education
systems for future economic, technological and demographic

Dr Francis O.Owino, PhD is the, Principal
Secretary, Public Service and Youth. Siddharth
is the United Nations Resident Coordinator to

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Boom or Bust -Education Will Determine Africa’s
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Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Boom or Bust -Education Will Determine Africa’s Transformation