The 12 key issues for Kenya Election 2013
Posted Wednesday, November 14 2012 at 20:30
- Job creation
- Food security
- Health care
- Water and environment
- Social protection
- Public infrastructure
- National Security and Foreign Policy
- Boosting exports
- Devolution and public service reform
As Kenya heads into elections on March 4, 3012, we outline challenges facing the nation that should be addressed.
Issue 1: Job creation
Only 40 per cent of high school leavers are expected to join private or public universities and colleges. The rest join the estimated 1.2 million young people between the ages of 20 to 24 currently looking for work.
Unemployment is highest in this age group, which at 32 per cent, is more than twice the national rate of 12.7 per cent. And though the informal sector currently accounts for 80 per cent of total employment in Kenya, the quality of jobs generated by this sector is poor.
Issue 2: Food security
Every time Kenya suffers droughts, which are becoming more frequent, at least 2 million people face starvation, and at least $1.5 billion is spent getting food aid to vulnerable people.
The proportion of undernourished people in Kenya has remained virtually stagnated since 1990 at 32%, though in absolute numbers the figure has grown from 8 million to 11.2 million.
Kenya needs to effect a solid strategy to ensure her people have enough food, not ‘‘knee-jerk’’ reactions as has been the case.
Issue 3: Health care
Kenya is one of eight countries in Africa that have made no progress in reducing maternal deaths since 1990.
The MDG target is 200 deaths per 100,000, but Kenya is at 488 deaths. Poor remuneration of doctors and lack of facilities means that 80 per cent of doctors leave the public service, leaving only 1 doctor per 10,000 people, against a global average of 14 per 10,000.
With virtually no healthcare insurance to speak of, getting sick is a luxury few can afford.
Issue 4: Education
Free primary education has increased enrolment from 6 million in 2002 to 9.3 million in 2010. But transition rates into high school are still low at about 60 per cent.
The quality of education has also come under question—nearly 10 per cent of Kenyan standard 8’s cannot do a long division math problem expected of a seven-year old in standard 2.
The greater question is if the country is producing the kind of human capital it needs to transition into a middle-income country by 2030.
Issue 5: Energy
Only about half of urban dwellers and a mere 5 per cent of rural households are connected to the grid. The country experiences an average of seven blackouts a month.