Challenges for our Generation

In developing the vision, the team reviewed recent research and work, which presented in detailed form the challenges they faced as a generation of young Kenyans.

The team talked to several experts as well as ordinary people in order to confirm this research and draw out lessons and main issues that they thought Kenya will have to confront over the next thirty years.  The team reviewed Kenya’s social, politic

“Kenyans appear to have lost faith in their ability to change things and create a different society”

al and economic crises and compiled a list of driving forces that have shaped the past and continue to shape the present. It concluded that:

The crises in Kenya today are the manifestations that Kenya has reached the limits of its chosen economic models and champions as well as the limits of political and institutional organization. This means that Kenya will face a succession of small crises and emergencies in the coming years.

Decreased agricultural productivity; reduction in arable land; an uncompetitive manufacturing sector; poor infrastructure and utilities; food insufficiency; and global marginalization among other things characterize the economic crisis.

The political dilemma is characterized by the present system's lack of legitimacy; Kenyans do not believe they have a high stake in the current political set-up and treat with disdain many matters and issues political. There is widespread mistrust of the judiciary; weakness of oversight institutions such as parliament; widespread mistrust of the security forces and their partisan nature. It is clear that there is a retreat from formal institutions and an increased dependence of informal arrangements and institutions; non delivery of services despite heavy taxation which makes the state appear both distant and predatory and increasing exploitation of ethnic and regional differences for political mileage.

The social crisis is characterized by the erosion of cultural values, increased criminal violence; a growing number of unemployed youth; the inability of the health and education systems to meet the needs of the population; the collapse of many rural communities and increase in family violence.

These symptoms are rooted in the unsustainability of Kenya's traditional development path based on primary exports and peasant agriculture; failure to develop a broad-based and competitive manufacturing sector; limited production of capital goods needed for manufacturing. The main message from this is that the country will need to find alternative ways of employing its labor force that consists principally of many young people.

These challenges are further compounded by new global challenges as a result of global liberalization and centralization of decision-making about elements of global governance

The political social and institutional crises are signs that Kenya has not yet developed an inclusive and tolerant society where all Kenyans believe they have an equal stake. Many instead feel quite excluded and their citizenship does not bestow on them the same benefits accruing to all. There has been an erosion of confidence and the rise in self-doubt by Kenyans as society.

The team therefore concluded that Kenya is not a prosperous nation. Rather, it is a nation where economic injustice and inequality thrive; The Kenyan economy is neither competitive nor able to respond to the challenges of increased globalization. Since many Kenyans do not feel they have a stake in the nation, Kenya has become a society where intolerance and suspicion of the other thrives. More importantly Kenyans appear to have lost faith in their ability to change things and create a different society.

These crises mean that Kenya faces many challenges as we embark on our journey into the 21st century.  The challenge of these crises is beyond the resources of any single individual or tribal experience. This situation is unprecedented. There are no blueprints for handling it. Therefore, we will all make mistakes.  No one can know in advance what will work and what will not. That is why we need to be willing to learn and to apply all our resources to confronting them.

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