Kenya has one of the best literacy rates among all countries on the African continent. Kenya’s current literacy rate is around 87% for the entire population; about 87% of the total Kenyan population above 15 can read and write at a basic level. This is far much better than most African countries.
Kenya just like its neighboring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as lime, soda ash, salt, gemstones, abundance of world life, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, hydropower etc.
However despite the high rates of literacy, Kenya, like most of the other developing countries in Africa today is crippled with so many problems, both natural and man-created, that hold back economic growth internally and externally.
Although literacy level in the country is far much better than other African countries, quality of education is something hard to come by in Kenya today. So at the end of the day students graduate with degrees upon degrees unable to apply what they have learned in schools to help better their living conditions. Instead most of them end up in the streets jobless with nothing to do at all. About 50% of the Kenyan populace lives below the poverty line with high unemployment rate.
75% of the total population are subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals to feed their families. In times of crop failure they go starving, and the unpredictable climatic conditions in Kenya sometimes worsen the situation like the recurring drought and floods during rainy seasons in the country put many rural families in nothing but abject poverty.
Corruption and poor leadership are the major reasons why Kenya continues to wallow in poverty despite the abundance of natural resources. Corruption in the country has gotten from bad to worse to the point where people on the streets consider corruption “normal” part of everyday life. Incompetent leadership and poor governance continue to tear the country in pieces.
Rapid population growth is another major challenge, further complicated by unemployment rates especially among the youth. More than 70% of the Kenya’s population are below the age of 30 and the population under age 14 alone amounts to 43%. With the largest part of the population entailing less productive youths Kenya sees less economic growth.
With Kenya facing numerous daunting challenges, including terrorism, a tidal wave of refugees from embattled neighbors, pervasive corruption, and a capital increasingly engulfed by shantytowns and slums, drought, poverty, inflation and high interest debts Kenya is at risk of not seeing a significant economic growth.
Written by Amina Martha.