“Kenya is a difficult country to live in,” laments Eric Mokaya, 33, a Kenyan living in Sweden. “To get anything, even your rights, you have to know someone or use money. Getting a job is difficult, even if you have the experience and education,” he adds.
Mokaya left Kenya eight years ago, first for an academic exchange program, then in search of work opportunities after didn’t get a job locally.
“I like it here,” he says of Sweden. “You don’t have to know anyone to use services and you can easily find a job if you have what it takes.”
“I miss my home, the food and the hospitality of the people in Kenya, and eventually I will return.
“But I have to secure my future first and I think my best chance is here,” Mokaya told The EastAfrican.< p>Mokaya’s sentiments align with the results of the South African charity Ichikowitz Family Foundation’s Young African Survey (AYS) 2022.
The survey was conducted in 15 countries, including Kenya and Uganda and Rwanda indicate that more than half of young Africans will leave their countries in the next three years in search of better job and education opportunities, with 27 percent having no intention of ever returning.
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This is caused by growing pessimism over the past two years about the prospects on the continent with 68 percent of youth aged b between 18 and 24 years old say they believe their countries are no longer going in the right direction, up 11 percent since 2020.
According to the survey, the number of in Kenya, Rwanda and South African youth have grown to be the most pessimistic during this period, most citing deaths from Covid-19, economic difficulties, political instability and conflict for their dwindling confidence in their nations’ futures.
This has a situation triggered the Ivor Ichikowitz, the chairman of the foundation, which is described as “bigger than a brain drain”, where the majority of African youth are convinced that they can only have a better future themselves ern when they leave their countries.
Read: Braindrain? Just give them incentives to stay
Looking for Opportunities
“I believe that after studying in the United States I will be better qualified and better able to do a good to find a paid job than an African goes to university,” said Felix Ouma, 24, a Kenyan who will leave for the US this July for a master’s program as part of the Kenya Airlift Program.
Ouma told The EastAfrican that he was unable to find a job after graduating from university and has been tirelessly searching for opportunities to further his studies abroad ever since.
The East African has learned that it a huge backlog of visa applications at the American embassy in Nairobi as many Kenyans look for opportunities abroad.
“I would leave in a heartbeat,” said Mercy Chepkemoi, 22, as she cites the frustrated search for a job be well educated.