Classified as a lower middle-income country by the World Bank since 2014, Kenya’s current Human Development Index score is 0.590, ranking it 142nd in the world. Despite an apparent reduction in income inequality over the past two decades, 36.1 per cent (16.4 million) of the population live in overall poverty. In 2019, Kenya’s economic growth averaged 5.7%, placing Kenya as one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The recent economic expansion has been boosted by a stable macroeconomic environment, positive investor confidence and a resilient service sector. However, Kenya’s economy is now being affected by supply and demand shocks on external and domestic fronts, thus interrupting the recent broad-based growth path. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified these domestic economic challenges. 

In 2017, Kenya’s working age population (between the ages of 15 and 64) was estimated at around 27 million. The same year, labour force participation stood at 66.8 per cent and the unemployment rate was 7.4 percent. Employment opportunities in the informal economy largely outstrip those in the formal sector. 787,800 jobs were created in the informal economy while only 100,000 jobs created in the formal sector. Men comprise the largest proportion of employees in the informal economy (known locally as “Jua Kali”) and more than two thirds of informal jobs are in trade, production and related services such as repairs and maintenance, or in restaurants and hotels. Persons with either no or little education are more likely to work in informal Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) than those with secondary or higher education. 

Together with the Kenya Vision 2030 plan for long-term development, the constitutional reform of 2010 included the reform of technical vocational education and training (TVET) in the country. However, insufficient financial resources and inadequate capabilities have constrained its proper implementation. A fragmented legal framework and duplicating responsibilities (both at the central and at operational levels) have also slowed down the reform. The skills mismatch and the resulting negative impact on the employability of the Kenyan population are due to a weak link with the industry, the lack of capacity to generate and utilize Labour Market Information (LMI) in a timely manner and the slow integration of digital skills in the TVET system. 


Generic document
A market systems approach to skills development
Publication Date: 25 Jul 2022
Source: ILO
Enterprises can drive business success and support inclusive economic growth by making investments into educating, training and reskilling of workers. Workers also face an imperative to proactively upgrade their skills or acquire new ones through training, education, and lifelong learning to remain employable, especially in the face of rapid transformation brought about by advances in automation and digitalisation.

A market systems approach to skills development has the potential to lead to more sustainable employment outcomes at scale, by taking a holistic approach to addressing both supply- and demand-side factors, as well as tackling the cost of skills development programmes and strengthening the link between market needs and the important role of regulation and standards.

Drawing on three case studies, this paper explores how a market systems development (MSD) approach to skills development can lead to employment outcomes and foster sustainable impact through systemic change that is owned, maintained, and further evolved by local stakeholders.
Generic document
Skills and labour market transitions for refugees and host communities
Publication Date: 17 May 2022
Source: Bilateral organizations-United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Labour Organization (ILO), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Finn Church Aid (FCA), ILO

This study is a joint collaboration of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Labour Organization (ILO), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Finn Church Aid (FCA) to identify good practices related to access to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), as well as their host communities, and their transition to the labour market.

The study reviews TVET systems and programmes implemented by national ministries, private sector actors, development agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across five countries - Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda – prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created additional challenges for the livelihoods and inclusion of forcibly displaced people around the world.

Project documentation
STEP Skills Measurement Employer Survey 2016 - 2017
Publication Date: 06 Sep 2021
Source: International organizations-World Bank
The STEP (Skills Toward Employment and Productivity) Measurement program is the first ever initiative to generate internationally comparable data on skills available in developing countries. The program implements standardized surveys to gather information on the supply and distribution of skills and the demand for skills in labor market of low-income countries.

The uniquely designed modules in the Employer Survey aim to assess the structure of the labor force; the skills (cognitive skills, behavior and personality traits, and job-relevant skills) currently being used; the skills that employers look for when hiring new workers; the propensity of firms to provide training (including satisfaction with education, training, and levels of specific skills) and the link between skills and compensation and promotion. The survey also captures background characteristics (size, legal form, industry, full time vs. non-standard employment and occupational breakdown), performance (revenues, wages and other costs, profits and scope of market), key labor market challenges and their ranking relative to other challenges, and job skill requirements of the firms being interviewed.
Publication
Towards decent work for young refugees and host communities in the digital platform economy in Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Egypt
Publication Date: 12 Aug 2021
Source: ILO
The world of work is subject to digital transformation and has witnessed a rapid rise of the digital platform economy over the last decade. Despite a growing body of research on this topic, the specific implications of this transformation for refugees and other marginalized populations remains poorly understood. The ILO’s Youth Employment Accelerator and the PROSPECTS partnership commissioned the present research to set a basis for a series of upcoming interventions in the digital economy, and more specifically in relation to digital labour and e-commerce platforms within PROSPECTS target countries in Africa. With a focus on Kenya, Uganda and Egypt, this report aims to contribute to a better understanding of the main challenges and opportunities that digital labour and e-commerce platforms in Africa pose for supporting a wider transition to decent work, with a concentration on refugees, displaced persons and their host communities. It builds on important recent ILO publications on this topic, including the 2021 World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO) on the digital platform economy and the report Digital Refugee Livelihoods and Decent Work: Towards Inclusion in a Fairer Digital Economy.

The online marketplace is often perceived to be easily accessible at a time when local employment alternatives outside urban centres are frequently scarce. The case of refugees offers a critical view on sometimes overly optimistic ideas about the digital platform economy as inclusive, empowering and transformative. Indeed, the current state of refugees and youth in the digital platform economy raises some serious concern about the lack of inclusion and the absence of adequate social protection, rights at work and decent working conditions.
Event
ILO Inter-regional workshop on enhancing youth employability and easing labour market transitions
Date: 18 - 20 May 2016
Sources: ILO

The Youth Employment Programme and Skills and Employability Branch are organizing a regional workshop on the theme of enhancing youth employability and easing labour market transitions. This three-day interregional event is part of a series of ‘What Works in Youth Employment’ Knowledge Sharing Events to facilitate learning and dialogue through evidence-based ‘good practices’.

The objective of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders (including our tripartite constituents) from nine African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia) in an interactive forum for exchange and peer learning with guidance from technical experts on effective, replicable and scalable supply side initiatives that address employability, skills demand, anticipation of skills needs and the bridges between supply and demand. A report based on exchanges and lessons learned during the workshop will be produced.

Event
ILO Inter-regional workshop on enhancing youth employability and easing labour market transitions
Date: 18 - 20 May 2016
Sources: ILO

The Youth Employment Programme and Skills and Employability Branch are organizing a regional workshop on the theme of enhancing youth employability and easing labour market transitions. This three-day interregional event is part of a series of ‘What Works in Youth Employment’ Knowledge Sharing Events to facilitate learning and dialogue through evidence-based ‘good practices’.

The objective of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders (including our tripartite constituents) from nine African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia) in an interactive forum for exchange and peer learning with guidance from technical experts on effective, replicable and scalable supply side initiatives that address employability, skills demand, anticipation of skills needs and the bridges between supply and demand. A report based on exchanges and lessons learned during the workshop will be produced.

Event
ILO Inter-regional workshop on enhancing youth employability and easing labour market transitions
Date: 18 - 20 May 2016
Sources: ILO

The Youth Employment Programme and Skills and Employability Branch are organizing a regional workshop on the theme of enhancing youth employability and easing labour market transitions. This three-day interregional event is part of a series of ‘What Works in Youth Employment’ Knowledge Sharing Events to facilitate learning and dialogue through evidence-based ‘good practices’.

The objective of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders (including our tripartite constituents) from nine African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia) in an interactive forum for exchange and peer learning with guidance from technical experts on effective, replicable and scalable supply side initiatives that address employability, skills demand, anticipation of skills needs and the bridges between supply and demand. A report based on exchanges and lessons learned during the workshop will be produced.