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Planning a green economy in Kenya

The first inter-ministerial workshop on Green Economy was held on Friday, 24 June 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. This meeting, organized jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Kenyan Ministry of Environment, aimed at initiating a national discussion about the possibilities and challenges for the creation of a green economy.

News | 06 July 2011

One of the main concerns discussed during the workshop was the question whether the green economy would be able to provide jobs and tackle poverty across the country. Kenya’s population is facing a general unemployment rate of 40 %, reaching even 70 % among youth. Reducing these unemployment rates is one of the main challenges to be tackled under Kenya Vision 2003, a national strategic development plan with the objective to provide a high quality life to all its citizens by the year 2030.

At the inter-ministerial workshop, the ILO Green Jobs Programme highlighted the need to invest in employment to achieve a green economy as natural resources, economy and employment are interdependent. Kenya’s economy is highly reliant on natural resources and therefore sensible to any kind of natural phenomena. A drought in the year 2000 caused, for example, a significant drop in the GDP growth rate from an average of 3% in previous years to 0.2 %, provoking also arapid increase in unemployment.

In ILO’s view, a careful management of natural resources combined with the creation of green jobs will therefore contribute to the reduction of unemployment and support sustainable development. The nature tourism, a highly employment intensive sector, has the potential to become an important sector in Kenya’s new green economy; worldwide its demand is growing by 20 %.

A national Green Economy Programme would contribute to achieve the objectives of Kenya Vision 2030. The ILO Green Jobs Programme recommends including the following elements into this programme:

  • Socio-economic green job & opportunity assessments to guide policy, investment & training
  • Inter-ministerial dialogue to harmonize and guide policy integrating the National Youth & Employment Council
  • Technical and Vocational Education and Training system to match Green Economy needs
  • Focusing on the majority of the working population by greening agricultural production
  • Set up ‘Green Youth’ public work programmes and Green Youth public procurement
  • Invest into direct support and enabling policies to create Green Youth Entrepreneurship