Creative economy: Addressing unemployment by embracing Kenya’s art talent

Creative economy: Addressing unemployment by embracing Kenya’s art talent

Kenya, like the rest of the world, is going through tough economic times highly impacting the country’s employment rate.

According to 2023 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data, there are 2.97 million Kenyans without a job. More than half of this population are youth, aged between 20 and 29 years, underlining the growing crisis of youth unemployment.

Supporting the creative industry will play a key role in not only fostering creative thinking but also addressing the high unemployment rates. The art and creative industry is beyond personal expression, it serves as a significant economic driver. The government has identified the creative economy as one of the fastest-growing sectors not only as a source of employment but also as an enabler of national cohesion and innovation.

According to the 2023 Economic Survey, Kenya’s creative sector contributes 5 percent to the GDP, creates jobs and is a contributor to a happier and healthier lifestyle. Recognising the significant impact of Kenya’s creative sector, individuals, corporations and stakeholders must come together in collaborative efforts to harness and maximise creative talent.

This collaboration will support economic growth and nurture a thriving creative economy that enhances overall well-being and quality of life.

To begin with, art nurtures creativity while enabling individuals to hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Artists and creative individuals are adept at thinking outside the box. This creative mindset can be utilised in other areas of life, enabling individuals to approach problems with fresh and unconventional perspectives. Supporting art will not only advance independence but also enable individuals to differentiate themselves from the rest.

With the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum, there is a realisation that in the current age of technological leaps like Artificial Intelligence, the future of jobs will heavily rely on art and creative work.

The 2023 World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report found that soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and technology literacy will be the top in-demand skills by 2027.

Secondly, art provides a platform for individuals to express themselves. Self-expression is a fundamental aspect of human nature that enables individuals to stand up for their beliefs and communicate their unique thoughts and needs.

Finally, it is only through art and creativity that we can create new industries and job opportunities. Artistic endeavours often involve creative thinking, which can lead to innovative solutions for various challenges. What we need are many artists and creative individuals to become entrepreneurs by starting their own businesses or ventures related to their craft. This enterprising spirit will lead to self-sustaining careers and economic independence.

Let us therefore come together to embrace and invest in art as we tackle unemployment and simultaneously enrich our cultural landscape.

Joy Ojiambo is the Marketing and Communications Senior Manager at Jubilee Life Insurance.

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