The proportion of Kenyan youth to the population stands at 20.3%, the highest in Africa and among the highest globally according to the US-Based Population Reference Bureau. This presents the economy with a vibrant man power if put to productive use. Young people have the capacity to cause an upward growth of the country’s GDP when they venture into investments while still aged between 18-35 years. This is much feasible when such investments are made in their home counties.
Majority of the young people move to the urban areas to look for employment leaving the aged and children back in the village and those in school, who are also looking for opportunities to migrate to the cities. In 2017 the percentage of urban population to stood at 26.5% of the total population according to Kenya Demographics profile 2018. This population continues to bring congestion in city centers with majority of the young people experiencing prolonged renting periods. As they advance in age they go back to their ancestral homes as they are unable keep up with the hustle and bustle of the city.
The birth and growth of devolution presents an opportunity for the young to invest and grow their home counties and ease the pressure of housing exerted to the urban areas. Young people hold the greatest potential to invest while still young and vibrant. Their ability to invest, is attributed to them being in employment and the fewer responsibilities they handle as compared to the older generation. They are in a position to channel a good portion of their income to investments way before other responsibilities knock in.
Naivasha for example, is an economic power house that has the potential of turning the entire Nakuru County into one of the richest counties in the country with the land, the lake, the power (geothermal) and the upcoming dry port. The area contributes about 70% of Kenyan flower export, 15% of Kenyan electric power and is home to attractive tourist sites. Since independence in 1963 the area has witnessed rapid land use transformation from commercial ranching to a mixture of commercial ranching and rapidly growing smallholder (rural and urban) settlements.
A report released by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in 2012 ranked Naivasha as one of the most popular destination for international meetings making it a robust investment hub for Kenya and Africa. The youth can seize the investment opportunities available here, especially on land and in agriculture to create a constant supply of food materials to the hotels, local and international visitors. The land can also be developed to holiday homes, children parks and gardens that will generate income.
The land can be gradually turned into homes by individuals, the close proximity of Naivasha to Nairobi a distance of 76Kms gives a home owner the ability to build a holiday home for a weekend and still go to work in Nairobi. This will gradually reduce the pressure in Nairobi and young people will continue to settle outside Nairobi causing a wholesome growth of the economy and at retirement majority will have settled and gradually reduce the renting periods.
In conclusion, young people need to be informed of the available investment opportunities by trusted real estate companies who will deliver title deeds to give the young an opportunity to develop the land. Growth of infrastructure will also play a key role in increasing transport efficiency an enabler of growth of any nation. This will create a more attractive opportunity for the young and encourage them to invest in such areas.
Written by Reuben Kimani, CEO, Username Investment Limited