The rapid spread of COVID-19 virus in Kenya has severe repercussions for its people. Since 2020, the country has been on subsequent lockdowns that were necessitated in the fight to reduce the spread of the virus. This was a well thought out plan to help the people but months down the line, the Government isn’t willing to relax the measures put in place so as to cushion its citizen on the worsening economic downfall. The consequences of the lockdown has affected many Kenyans country wide. This include reduced job opportunities, lower wages, less access to healthcare assistance, difficulties transitioning to remote learning and food insecurity. There has been an increase in Job loss since early 2020 and the trend keeps rising creating a massive unemployment sector that’s getting people into poverty. The Government in doing little next to nothing in creating employment opportunities for its citizens who are really struggling to make ends meet not even cushioning them against further economic breakdown. Life in the City has become unbearable with an increase in crime being experienced all over the metropolitan and its surrounding. Poor government policies are the order of the day where they invest in very expensive infrastructure projects without thinking of the plight of the common mwananchi. Cost of living is at an alarming high due to the rise of electricity, fuel and basic commodities costs. For the last 2 years, many Kenyans have found themselves not able to afford even 1 meal per day and the government is quiet about it only focused in politics. Crime, prostitution, murders, suicides, wash wash and all sorts of manipulative ways are the order of the day for survival. In Kenya, the gap between the richest and poorest has reached extreme levels. Less than 0.1% of the population (8,300 people) own more wealth than the bottom 99.9% (more than 44 million people). The richest 10% of people in Kenya earned on average 23 times more than the poorest 10%. Lockdowns have seriously affected the hospitality industry, tourism, MSMEs, transport and other sectors who rely on a 24 hour economy.
Time for Reform
According to one comprehensive study evaluating poverty alleviation strategies in developing nations, establishing strong institutional resource systems is key to effective poverty reduction. This involve reaching out to the masses and identifying the key areas which need immediate intervention and solutions. The Government should come up with policies on how to get finance reach to the most vulnerable in the society. This can be done through chamas, youth groups, bodaboda saccos to name a few, who are given finance at cheap interest rates so that they can invest in business. The Government also needs to construct more industries in all Sector that are labor intensive hence creating employment opportunities. Furthermore, following a human-based approach in these institutions by working in conjunction with people in poverty and empowering them to fully participate in their own socioeconomic improvements is vital for ensuring decreases in poverty. The key to growth is capital deepening, which will occur if there is a high rate of investment in people and machinery. Its high time the Government lifts the lockdowns and focus on improving the welfare of its citizens for a better future.
Stay Safe. peace.
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