Kenya Should Support Disruptive Innovation to Offer More Employment


The rate of unemployment in Africa is still high. This is despite the fact that many young people have completed the formal education.  According to 2014 World Bank report, approximately 1.8 million youths aged between 18 and 25 years are unemployed.  There are a number of measures put in place to reduce the number. But there is no concrete and immediate way to do away with this.

Most countries have turned their attention to investment in disruptive innovation. This has offered a great change globally as seen by the impact of Facebook, Uber, and M-Pesa. Various governments, organizations, and platform in Africa have invested much of their resources in innovation. This has a high-profit generation though for a short term but it does not create the much-expected jobs. Furthermore, it does not foster quick economic development. Sustaining innovation is the adopted ways of improving the performance of the existing services or products. They mainly concentrate on those who are already using the services or products. This then leads to neglect of those who are not in a position to afford especially the poor. This might be because of cost, skill, or time limitations. Many Kenyan organizations have adopted sustaining innovation.

Adoption of efficiency that promotes innovations are aimed at simplifying the process. This is in development and delivery of the existing services or products. A good example is e-citizen efficiency in Kenya. The innovation works on improving the government’s service delivery. It does that by removing middlemen and brokers in the chain. Despite the fact that these innovations are important, they do not create jobs in most cases. This is because their main goal is to remove the excess human labor from the service and production process.

The other name for disruptive innovation is empowering innovation. It refers to those innovations that change expensive products and services into affordable ones so as to be consumed by many people. The innovation is in a position to bring both economic and social changes to many people. For instance, Kenya recorded the highest financial inclusion rate in the continent at 67% from just 19% in 2007. This came after the launch of mobile payment services M-Pesa. The service has created more job opportunities for those in both rural and urban areas. This shows the impact brought by the disruptive innovation on the creation of jobs.

The innovation also plays an important role in economic development. This is because the government benefits from the dividend cheques and billions of taxes which it collects from the innovation that it then uses it for development. But this type of innovation is less encouraged since they require many resources.  Kenya needs to put much of its resources on the disruptive innovation. This will help in creating more jobs for its large number of unemployed youths. The state should develop innovation labs and incubation centers in technical institutions and universities to support such innovations.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru

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