Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Launch of the 6th National Human Development Report (NHDR)

In carrying out my duties at the Ministry, I attended the launch of the Kenya National Human Development Report 2009 that took place at Laico Regency, Nairobi. I filed the following report that I am sharing out.

The launch was a well attended event with  Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 being the chief guest, Minister for Youth affairs and Sports, Hon. Prof. Helen Sambili present and Mr. Aenaeas Chuma, UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator, and UNDP Resident Representative gracing the occasion.  
This year’s report focuses on youth and goes by this title; Youth and Human Development: Tapping the Untapped Resource.

The UNDP Resident representative, Mr. Chuma gave the background of Human Development Reports that are celebrating/marking 20 years since inception in 1990. He pointed out that this reports present cutting edge data, diagnosis and policy options on emerging development challenges from human development perspectives as opposed to GDP. They also seek to advocate a holistic human development approach to development and according to him these are

  • Enjoying political freedom and participation

  • Enjoying a decent living

  • Being knowledgeable and enjoying good health

  • Enjoying cultural respect, dignity and cultural freedom

UN Humanitarian & Resident Coordinator, and UNDP Resident Representative, Aeneas Chuma, makes his opening remarks at the launch of the KNHDR 2009
The two Ministers highlighted the 

importance of the youth demographics in

 their respective speeches (
Hon. Wycliffe A. Oparanya speech below

Thereafter Hon. Wycliffe A. Oparanya officially launched the report.
Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, presents the KNHDR 2009 to the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Hon. Prof. Helen Sambili

This report has good statistics but yet to read the whole report. However, here are some of the index to be found in the report:

Measure                                                       Comparative Index
Human Development Index (HDI)                   0.568
Gender Development Index (GDI)                 0.4924
Human Poverty Index (HPI)                                29.1%
Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM)        0.383
Youth Development Index (YDI)                     0.5817

Statement by Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, EGH, MP, Minister of State For Planning, National Development And Vision 2030 during the launch of The Sixth National Human Development Report (NHDR) On 30th June 2010, 10.00 AM at Laico Regency Hotel:


Hon. Cabinet colleague, Prof. Hellen Sambili, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports,
UNDP Resident Representative, Aeneas Chuma,
Permanent Secretaries present,
Economic Planning Secretary,
Senior Government officers,
Invited guests,
Ladies and gentlemen;

It gives me great pleasure to join you today as we launch the Sixth National Human Development Report. The concept of Human Development is based on the understanding that the ultimate purpose of all human activities is enriching people’s lives by enlarging their options and choices. This implies greater access to knowledge and skills, better nutrition and health, enhanced access to basic social services, more secure livelihoods, among others.  These concept recognizes the fact that the society’s real wealth is its people and hence its orientation to people-centred development.
Kenya has prepared five Human Development reports in the past. Their timing has been intermittent while their themes have been changing every other time. Kenya’s first Human Development report was produced in 1999 under the theme “Gender and Human Development”. The second National Human Development Report was produced in 2001 under the theme “Addressing social and economic disparities for Human Development”, while the third human development report produced in 2003 was under the banner theme “Participatory Governance for Human Development”.
The Fourth National Human Development Report of 2005, Linked Industrialization with Human Development whereas the 2006 fifth NHDR focused on “Human Security and Human Development’’.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The theme of the Sixth National Human Development Report is “Youth and Human Development: Tapping the Untapped Resource”. The concerns for youth have for a time now captured international and national attention. This is attested by landmark recognition of issues pertinent to youth in the 1995 World Summit on Youth and a continuing follow-up focus within the changing economic and social environment. The link between youth and development remain relevant today and for the future.
The Government of Kenya identifies the youth as a national priority. Kenya’s Economic blue print  Vision 2030 and its first Medium Term Plan for the period 2008-2012 clearly articulates that for the country to attain its vision of becoming a middle income and prosperous by 2030, it is paramount to put youth concerns in the forefront.
In this regard the 6th National Human Development Report seeks to promote advocacy for human development with the aim of stimulating dialogue on national development strategies and objectives, and to monitor the status of human development by providing facts and figures, which measure progress and pinpoint critical imbalances. This report further focuses on national policy formulation and consensus building among national stakeholders and seeks to inform decision-making in the management of national resources among the public, private and civil society sectors. It is hoped that by contributing to the debate on alternative approaches and helping to develop shared visions, new prospects and strategies will be identified for enhancing national development.
 The key objectives of the NHDR 2009 are to explore the human development concerns of the youth and assess their development challenges faced at all levels as well as identify strategies to address them.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The theme of this report pays tribute to the fact that the majority of Kenyans are young people. The youth aged 15-35 years constitute 36 percent of the total population.  Of this group, 18.3 percent are female and 17.7 percent are male. Currently, the youth account for about 60 percent of the total active labour force.
The youth unemployment estimated at 75 percent in Kenya is a concern, since it is a precursor to increasing poverty. The cause of the growing unemployment is partly attributed to lack of appropriate skills required in the labour industry. In addition, it is also of great concern that a third of all HIV/AIDS patients are young and over 75 percent of new infections are amongst the youth, majority of who are young women.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Young people, today and in the future, will be the principal stakeholders and beneficiaries of the Vision 2030.  Therefore issues affecting young people should be fully integrated and harmonized into every aspect of public policy and across all Ministries and government agencies. Under the Vision 2030, specific policies and interventions are spelt out for implementation to fully develop the youth potential as well as prepare and engage them in socio-economic development.
In order to address the human development concerns and challenges like those facing the youth, the government aims at raising the average annual incomes per person from an estimated USD 650 in 2006 to above USD 992 by 2012; Reducing poverty levels from 45.9 per cent to 28 per cent by 2012; Reducing rural and urban inequality from the current levels of 0.38 and 0.447 to 0.34 and 0.407 respectively over the same period. A major aspiration of Vision 2030 is to raise the Human Development Index (HDI) from the current level of 0.532 to 0.750 by the year 2015.
The key strategic areas of intervention include: capacity building and empowerment to enable youth engage in productive activities, creation of employment opportunities, provision of financial and market linkage support, character molding initiatives and participation in decision making.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Kenyan youth, however, continue to face many challenges which include limited opportunities for educational advancement and technical training, limited opportunities for on job training and employment, high levels of poverty, lack of finance and access to credit, disproportionate exposure to high health and social risks as well as limited opportunities and mechanisms to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Ladies and Gentlemen:  The Sixth National Human Development Report provides information on four indices namely; Human Development Index (HDI), Human Poverty Index (HPI), Gender Development Index (GDI), Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) and Youth Development Index (YDI). It is notable that this is the first time a YDI has been computed for the country.
According to the National Human Development Report that we are launching today, the Human Development Index (HDI) at the national level is estimated at 0.561, the National average Human Poverty Index (HPI) is given as 29.1, while the Gender Development Index (GDI) at the national level stands at 0.492. The computed Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) is estimated at 0.383. The Youth Development Index (YDI) stands at 0.5817. It is important to note that all these indices exhibit some regional disparities.
It is observed that only a narrow margin exists between the National Youth Development Index at 0.5817 and the National Human Development Index at 0.5610. This correlation can be attributed to the large proportion of youth (36%) in the total population.  In this regard, the goal of Vision 2030 to realise a Human Development Index growth cannot be realised without the Kenya Youth Development Index growing at the same pace.
Ladies and Gentlemen:  The 6th National Human Development Report  supports the fact that a large youth cohort that is typical of the Kenyan population demographic pattern presents an opportunity, especially if the right macroeconomic and labour market policies are set in a manner that can help the economy benefit from the youth bulge. The youth have often demonstrated the ability to contribute to the development process and have the potential that can be nurtured to promote economic progress. To harness their energy, policy initiatives and resources should be targeted and channelled towards tackling development challenges.

Employment or access to income-earning opportunity is recognized as the single most important facet of participation in the economy and the basis for raising standards of living. The report observes that while the economic performance has improved, growth in productive employment and income-generating opportunities have not kept pace with the growth in the labour force especially for the youth who comprise over 60 percent of the labour force.

More emphasis needs to be given to non-conventional employment opportunities such as ICT, music, performing arts and sports. The ICT sector is the fastest growing business segment in Kenya with youth forming the majority of employment. Access to technologies is spreading rapidly and has proven to be an effective tool for development with its ability to foster the sharing of information and opportunities for youth to express their ideas and opinions. ICT provides an opportunity for the youth to contribute to the shared values of transparency, accountability, performance, effectiveness and efficiency. The report recommends that youth be supported to play an important role through ICT and automation of government programs.
The Report further recommends that the youth needs to be nurtured and equipped with literacy, and numeric skills and knowledge in order to steer growth and break the intergenerational spiral of poverty, morbidity, illiteracy and inequality. Literate, numerate skilled and healthy youth is a tremendous asset for development. Unskilled, semi literate, morbid and overly dependent youth on the other hand can be a terrible burden and a drag on national growth and public finances.
Ladies and Gentlemen:  You will all concur with me that for a long time the youth have been left out in key development issues. Their potential and efforts has been under rated and underutilized in the prospects of achieving our goals.  It is now high time that we found ways of channeling these huge potentials in order to realize our goals. I am glad that the report we are launching today has highlighted some areas and recommendations on how these challenges can be addressed.

In the budget of this financial year, 2010/2011 the government has continued to fund the Economic Stimulus Programme that focuses on sectors that will generate maximum benefits as well as protecting the livelihoods of the poor and creating employment for the youth. We expect the youth will take advantage of these opportunities since this will go a long way in reducing unemployment among them.

The Kazi Kwa Vijana (KKV) programme is another programme which the government initiated to create jobs. The project has programmes in all constituencies and is intended to help youth and improve food security.  This will enable the government to push development initiatives at the same time addressing unemployment.
Finally, I urge all of us to inculcate the spirit of collaboration and partnership to give the best to our youth in order to change their status, enable them achieve their dreams, contribute to the development of our country and ultimately change the image of our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen:  I now wish to thank you all for availing yourselves for this important occasion. I also wish to convey my sincere appreciation to UNDP who partnered with my Ministry in coordinating the preparation of the report, the National Technical Committee which steered the preparatory process and all others who contributed in one way or another. This report is an important document for informing the policy formulation and planning process at national, sectoral and devolved levels. I urge all of you to read internalize and utilize the information therein.  And it is now my great pleasure to launch the Sixth National Human Development Report.Thank you.................
Caren Wakoli's Speech (Youth representative)

Minister of State for National Planning and Vision 2030, Hon Wycliffe Oparanya
Minister for Youth Affairs and sports, Hon. Prof. Helen Sambili
UNDP Resident Representative, Aeneas Chuma
Permanent secretaries and other senior government officials
Dignitaries from the Private Sector and the Civil Society

The youth of our great Country

Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to participate in the launch of the 2009 National Human Development Report and l laud the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Kenya on coming up with a very timely theme “Investing in the Youth and especially the aspect of tapping the untapped Resource.”

True to the theme, the Youth have enormous potential much of which remains untapped! So investment in the Kenyan Youth is definitely the right way in empowering our society.

We may have heard or watched the captivating World Cup theme song, Give me freedom; take me higher! It captures the aspirations of young people in the world to day and I am happy to note that majority of those playing in the on-going World Cup are young people who have exploited their talents to reach an enviable status in society. It’s quite encouraging but the question we must ask is; what percentage of young people are in such positions of affluence and influence? And Secondly, what must society do to enable the youth exploit untapped potential and attain positions of economic and political influence?

The task may seem daunting, but lm encouraged that People through   generations have surmounted the challenges of their times and made it better for subsequent generations and so Yes, we can do it and the 2009 National Human Development Report we are launching today definitely addresses the challenges of our times. The report initiates policy debate on various issues affecting youth development among them the link between Youth development to the broader concept of human development, the potential of youth and introduction of an index for youth development in Kenya.

The challenge faced by the youth is a widely fact acknowledged by many and the report that is being launched today has however not only laid bare this fact with greater detail and analysis, but has also placed the matter in its most awakening context. Consider the rather obvious fact that the youth in Kenya are the majority and most vibrant, if not altogether energetic. One would expect, therefore, that the youth would be currently playing the most significant role in the country’s economic, political and social affairs. But, as we all know, that is not the case and this report has captured this fact better than I could ever do. For starters, the youth face extremely high unemployment rates and thus low participation levels, which means they are not able to exploit their full potential. To put it in another way, youth in Kenya is a valuable resource that is simply wasting away. It is just one of the paradoxes that surround the issue of youth in the country.  

This paradox is also apparent in the report, I must add. In the newly developed Youth Development Index, for instance, Kenya is not doing badly when compared to countries such as Pakistan. This is probably because three things – health, education and income – were considered in this assessment. The literacy levels may be high among the youth and they may also be doing very well health wise – despite the fact that they are the most affected by HIV/AIDS. But the biggest challenge for the youth is employment or income, in this case. Kenya is one of the countries with the highest unemployment rates in the world and the youth are the most affected. It is an issue which we must all try and address even as we launch this report.

It is worth noting that, in Kenya, while the country’s economic performance has improved considerably, to borrow from some aspects of the report, growth in productive employment and income-generating opportunities have not kept pace with growth in the labor force especially for the youth who comprise over 60 percent of the labor force. This suggests that the youth are not benefiting from the economic growth and are thus being left behind as the economy expands.

Part of the solution must begin at the level of education, for useful assessment of education is not just about literacy levels even though Kenya registers high literacy levels, there is an obvious dearth of relevant skills among the youth that can help them in the competitive labour market. The gap between the labour market and training young people receive from numerous institutions has repeatedly been pointed out by employers. It is an issue that we must begin to think of a little more seriously so that we can find ways of redressing this challenge. Some would say the problem is attributable to the lack of a comprehensive policy to provide for youth development, although that is still debatable.

The youth in Kenya yearn for an expansion of their options and choices in life. They desire greater access to knowledge and skills, better nutrition and health, as well as enhanced access to basic social services, and more so secure livelihoods. Thus the 2009 Human Development Report is useful in refocusing the attention of Kenyans on the role and potential of young people in contributing to a brighter future in view of the long-term blueprint of Vision 2030.

Today the desire to exploit the potential of the young people is a global concern. For instance the Youth and Governance Conference held in August 2009 in Accra Ghana noted among other things:
  • Young people as a result of lack of capacity have failed to take their rightful place in governance and hold their representatives accountable for their political promises to empower the youth and actively involve them in positive development initiatives
  • The prevalence of weak structures and poor support mechanisms has contributed to the low rate of youth participation at the community and domestic levels.
  • There is a lack of common representative front for young people to engage government and other key stakeholders on critical decisions that affect them.
  • There is lack of strong political commitment to Youth Development as evidenced by the unwillingness of many African governments to ratify the African youth charter and develop precise and implementable youth policy which will address the many challenges facing the youth of Africa.

These are sad facts and reflect a hostile environment that impedes the empowerment of the youth in the entire African continent. I feel that the only refuge is to implement MDG-2 which calls for Universal Primary Education. High quality-skills based education will enable Kenya manage the youth bulge currently impacting negatively on youth development. Education and skills development is key strategy for empowering the youth, unfortunately Kenyan youth are affected by inadequate and sometimes non-existent educational infrastructure, low teacher motivation, inappropriate curriculum and inconsistency in educational policy formulation. Young people in Kenya additionally lack career counseling and orientation as well as rehabilitation for school drop outs. When young people especially females are not empowered as a result of unemployment and lack of access to education, it leads to sexual indulgence and sometimes exploitation.

Prof. Atukwei Okai speaking during the 2009 African Youth governance conference told the youth: ‘we can only achieve the empowerment of the youth through striving for enlightenment. The path of self empowerment comes through self enlightenment. And we can acquire enlightenment through the pursuit of knowledge, through reading.

The professor went on to say; ‘It is only self enlightenment that can lead to self- knowledge and self-discovery. It is only after this that we gain self-confidence, self-expression and then, self-assertion. These are the demands of the current Knowledge-based and knowledge-driven society. Our key to self-development is through the acquisition and deployment of knowledge. It is only a self-empowered youth who can make a positive difference to Africa’s condition, advancement and destiny’.

It is important to note that Youth Organizations meeting in Bomako in 2005 made a call to African leaders to empower the youth by building their capacity, leadership responsibilities and provide access to information such that they can take up their rightful place as active agents in decision-making and governance. I believe the 2009 Human Development Report we are launching today will go along way in providing a policy framework for youth empowerment in Kenya.

However, the youth must also play their role in this noble exercise and I personally encourage young people in Kenya:
  • That we must conduct ourselves in the spirit of integrity, respect and accountability to win support from stakeholders in the Youth development sectors.
  • We must dig deeper into our creative reserves and pull human and financial resources together to build partnerships and strategic networks to help break the cycle of poverty;
  • We must be patriotic and show positive attitude to work in our chosen careers and avoid nepotism, tribalism and other social vices that bedevil our society.
  • And finally to the youth in Kenya, we must commit themselves to research and study to build our capacity for positive action. To you I say you are the hope of our great nation.

All having been said, I will just share quick thoughts on what in my view is the way forward:

First, this report must serve its purpose well, and should mark the beginning of the much needed decisive step towards the transformation of the plight of the youth. It makes good observations and draws useful recommendations from which the country can benefit immensely. It should not become just another piece of literature.  

Secondly, with the challenges facing the youth, it is important that we begin to look at our learning institutions and try to synchronize their training with the job market demands.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we should as a country begin to open up all aspects of our public sectors for youth participation.

As I come to the end of my statement, I wish to share with you one of my philosophies in life; ‘To leave indelible footprints in the sands of time, you must walk and fall sometimes. And to walk you must not fear the ground you tread on even if it were sinking sand. Issues affecting young people in Africa and in here at home might appear insurmountable, but these are the issues we must begin to interrogate and progressively take action on to make a change in our society. Dr Martin Luther King Junior said, that ‘Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.’ To the government and other stakeholders with a keen interest to seeing an empowered and productive youth in Kenya, just like Dr King, would you take the risk to invest in the youth?

Thank You.
God Bless Kenya.


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