SOCIETY AND THE FUTURE OF WORK – Harnessing urbanisation as well as the demographic dividend What effect will urbanisation, demographic trends and the impact of COVID-19 have on people’s livelihoods and prospects for work?
 
PART A: UNDERLYING TRENDS

Kenya’s ‘youth bulge’ could drive economic transformation – provided young people have the right skills and can find productive jobs.

  • Kenya’s population will grow from 52.2 million today to 115 million by 2065 and will retain a substantial ‘youth bulge’.
  • A ‘demographic dividend’ will require an emphasis on education and the creation of formal employment opportunities.
 

As urbanisation accelerates, infrastructure gaps and inequality are emerging as critical issues. 

  • Kenya’s urban population will double by 2050, as people are “pushed” from rural areas and “pulled” into cities
  • In order to fully reap the economic benefits of urbanisation and redress rising inequality, the pace of change will need to be managed and Kenya’s cities will require major investment in infrastructure
 

Owing to a lack of formal jobs, most Kenyans are turning to the informal sector as their source of livelihood. However, there are important counter-trends that will become more significant in the medium-term.

  • The informal sector dominates the Kenyan economy and is growing.
  • With the population growing quickly, Kenya is under pressure to create more stable and well-paying jobs. In the medium-term, a few tech start-ups highlight the potential of digital innovations to accelerate job creation and raise agricultural incomes.
 

PART B: IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON SOCIETY AND FUTURE OF WORK IN KENYA

COVID-19 has resulted in mass unemployment and hardship at a time of rapid demographic growth and urbanisation in Kenya.

PART C: CONCLUSION

What might shifting demographics and the changing nature of work mean for economic transformation?

  • The pace of urbanisation needs to slow to enable infrastructure and housing investments to catch up. Agricultural transformation is key to managing the pace of change.
  • There is a need to focus on sectors that will kickstart widespread growth and create millions of jobs in the future.