China July 12 — Kenya hopes to tap its demographic dividend in order to achieve its economic blue print, the Vision 2030, a government official said on Wednesday.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning Dr. Edward Sambili told journalists in Nairobi that Kenya’s huge youth population will be used as asset in order to achieve at least 10 percent annual economic growth.
“The second five year medium term plan (MTP) beginning in 2013 will put in place a mechanism to ensure that economic growth rate exceeds population growth rate so that the country experiences net positive income per capita,” Sambili said during the launch of the Youth Agenda Fact Sheet on the Vision 2030 in Nairobi.
He noted that the National Council on Population and Development will spearhead efforts to bring down the fertility rates.
“The ministry has already developed a concept note that will define road map of the second MTP which takes into consideration the possible commercialization of Kenya’s oil deposits within the next seven years,” he said.
According to the ministry of planning, the annual population growth rate stands at 2.9 percent and the target is to bring it down to 2 percent by the 2030. Sambili said Kenya’s youth will only be an asset when there is rapid and inclusive economic growth rate in an environment of reducing total fertility rates. “The goal is to ensure that the number of children and elderly dependent on the working population declines so that the workers can save more of their income,” he said.This scenario, he said, will lead to more investments in the economy and create a virtuous circle of growth.
He noted since 2003, Kenya has recorded annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth that has exceeded population growth with the exception of the year 2008. However, the difference between the population increase and economic expansion has not been large enough to equal that witnessed by the East Asian New industrialized countries that managed to transform their economies from low income to high income nations.
According to the ministry of planning population under the age of 29 years account for 69 percent of the population.The ministry of planning said that there are specific well known challenges that arise when rapid economic development such as those envisioned under vision 2030 take place in a predominantly young society.”Kenyan youth will only be a liability if the supply of new jobs per annum in the modern economic sector is less than number of job-seekers,” he said.
The PS said that the government will put emphasis on the providing skills to youth so that they are connected to the modern economy.
The planning ministry said that once the country achieves sustainable economic growth it will be well placed to handle the expected
rise in the number of unproductive elderly population.Youth Agenda Chief Executive Officer Susan Kariuki said that the youth are the biggest stakeholders if Kenya is to achieve it economic blue print Vision 2030.”As the largest source of labor they will instrumental if Kenya is to achieve middle income status by the year 2030,” she said.A study conducted by the Youth Agenda revealed that only 54 percent are aware of the flagship projects of the plan.