Article 260 of the Kenyan constitution 2010, defines youth as a person aged between 18 and 34 years. The African Youth Charter on the other hand defines youth as a person aged between 15 and 35 years. The United Nations defines youth as aged between 15 and 25 years. This youth in the Kenyan context is the collective of individuals who have attained the age of 18 years and have not exceeded 35 years. It is a critical stage that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood, and it requires social, economic and legal backing from the relevant stakeholders.

The constitution of Kenya recognizes and acknowledges the youth in Kenya as a vulnerable group and hence should be protected (article 21). Equally, Article 55 obligates the government to take measures of developing affirmative action programs to ensure the youth are able to access relevant education and training, are protected from harmful cultural practices and exploitations, and have the opportunity to associate be represented and participate in political, economic and social spheres of life and access employment.

According to the 2019 census, 75 percent of the 47.6 million people in Kenya are under 35 years, while the elderly i.e. 65 years and above were recorded at 1,870,493 persons, which constitutes a paltry 3.9 percent of the population.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reveals that Kenya has a rural youthful population at 7.5 percent, who are below 35 years of age.

According to a report by UNDP, Kenya is ranked as having the highest unemployment rate in East Africa. Unemployment stands at 55% in Kenya among the youth.

According to a survey done by The Aga Khan University in 2016, it identified Kenyan youth as entrepreneurial, value hard work and family ties. However, the report pointed out that the Kenyan youth suffers from massive unemployment and has an integrity crisis. That is, 50 percent believe that it does not matter how one makes money as long as one does not end up in jail.

On the other side, a larger majority at 80% value faith, 45% value work, and 60% value family. In terms of aspiration, 48% of youth in Kenya would like to go into business.

According to research by National Action Plan on Youth Employment, youth unemployment is one of the greatest challenges of our time in Kenya. The findings further point out that youth aged between 15 and 30 years number about 9.1 million and account for 32% of the country’s population. The majority of the youth at 61% are unemployed. Primary and secondary school graduates account for 82% of unemployment, while university graduates account for 1.4%. The report further indicates that 92% of the unemployed youth have no job training other than formal school, meaning unemployment in Kenya is caused by lack of knowledge and skills.

A unique characteristic of the Kenyan youth is that they are techno-savvy i.e. they embrace much of the changes that come with technology, they are hyperactive in youth events and online social platforms, a majority have access to personal phones, and they are highly innovative. Kenya is among the most active participants online, Africa South of Sahara.

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