By Mwende Mukwanyaga
Gender gaps in employment are widening at a steep rate
In 2020, total wage employment declined by 6.4 per cent with employment of females declining by 10.3 per cent and that of males declining by 4.0 per cent.
Males accounted for about two-thirds of total wage employment in the modern sector.
Women were already more likely to be unemployed prior to Covid-19, and the current crisis has had a particularly negative and long-lasting effect on them.
The pandemic boosted a worrying ascendance of crime
Sexual offences increased by 13.7% due to the COVID-19 pandemic containment measures such as restriction of movement and curfews.
Cases reported on child trafficking and victims of violence such as child pregnancy, defilement, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and physical abuse also recorded an increase in 2020.
Kenyans are settling into a culture of digital transactions
Total mobile money transfers grew by a whopping 20% in 2020 which is one of the largest increments recorded in the last 5 years.
This was driven by preferences to cashless transactions in the wake of COVID-19 and the reduction of mobile money transfer tariffs.
The inflation trend is dreadful for the poor
The annual inflation rate in Kenya accelerated for the fifth straight month to 6.91% in September of 2021, from 6.57% in August and above market forecasts of 6.8%.
Kenyans had to cough up more money to buy food & non alcoholic beverages, transportation, housing and utilities as they recorded a steep inflation rate due to disruption in products/services supply chains and covid-19 mitigation regulations such as PSVs carrying half capacity.
Inflation disportionately affected theNairobi lower income households as they bore the brunt of increasing food, housing and transportation costs with the highest annual inflation of 6.2 percent while Nairobi middle and upper income groups each recorded 2.6 per cent inflation in 2020.
Most industries recorded negative growth in employment.
Accommodation and food service activities sector was the most affected with a decline of 38.7 per cent in 2020.
This was followed by administrative and support service activities, transportation and storage and education at 25.0, 21.5 and 20.8 per cent, respectively.
The drastic fall in employment in the accommodation and food service sector could mainly be attributable to public health measures instituted by the Government to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
There are large fluctuations in employment growth rates due to the pandemic
Overall, there was a decelerated growth in employment in public, private and self employed sectors due the pandemic recession.
Enrollment in schools across the country is on the decline.
The overall enrolment in primary schools declined from 10.2 million pupils in March 2020 to 10.0 million pupils in March 2021 .
Total secondary enrolment decreased from 3.5 million in March 2020 to 3.3 million in March 2021 when the schools fully reopened.
This decline can partly be attributed to school dropouts due to teenage pregnancies, early marriages and other socioeconomic factors such as employment as a result of prolonged closure of schools.
Tourism sector is experiencing market paralysis across its vast value chain
Restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected tourism activities.
Tourism earnings declined by 43.9 % to KSh 91.7 billion in 2020.
The Government also suspended international passenger flights between March and July and introduced a number of restrictions such as curfews, control of movement, and restricted social gatherings in order to contain the spread of the virus.
This led to a significant decline of international visitor arrivals decreased at 71.5%.
Sugar and Cement production kept the manufacturing industry alive during the pandemic
The manufacturing sector’s performance was mainly supported by sugar and cement production as other key sub sectors experienced a decline in production.
Cement consumption increased by 23.3% from 5,933.3 thousand tonnes in 2019 to 7,312.7 thousand tonnes in 2020 while sugar production increased by 36.9%.
Construction sector bolsters the economy.
Sector recorded a growth of 11.8% in 2020 compared to 5.6% in 2019…mostly because of road constructions across the country.