E-Commerce: is this the solution for unemployment in Kenya?


Every year institutions of higher learning in Kenya release thousands of graduates into the job market. These graduates are skilled and ready to work but the unfortunate thing is that the job market is terribly flooded, resulting into an distasteful state of disequilibrium-few jobs, large number of people available for employment. The outcome? Many qualified people with no jobs. And while many sit and sulk, some look for solutions and venture into businesses. One of these solutions that is fast picking up is E-commerce.

Internet Penetration and Connectivity

Kenya is one of the countries in Africa with the fastest internet speed and best infrastructure. It also leads in the region for offering low internet rates. For instance, Safaricom subscribers can purchase data bundles for as low as five shillings. This implies many Kenyans can access the internet with ease. In 2014, 43.4% of Kenyans could access the internet as compared to the World’s average of 40%. For people who are able to spot opportunities, this is a great business opportunity that could curb the unemployment problem in the country.

Tech-savvy people

Nowadays, a good number of the unemployed people are young, tech-savvy and have smart devices. Even some of our grandparents can now use smart phones with relative ease. People are enlightened on technology matters and could start and run their own businesses. They are also potential e-commerce customers. Rarely will you find a tech-savvy person deliver these items to them. Nowadays, all the clients need is to make their orders online. Holiday planning and hotel bookings have been redefined. People first check on the internet the best and most affordable services instead of physically visiting the travel agents. For instance, Africa’s leading hotel booking website, Jovago, has continued to experience massive success. Jovago acts as a link between travellers and different hotels in Africa. Travellers get to book their ideal hotels in a matter of a few clicks at affordable rates.

Low financial investment

Unlike many businesses, e-commerce businesses do not require big financial investment. One is not required to own or produce goods. You can simply link customers who are in need of specific products or services with vendors or service providers offering them at a fee. This saves the customers the hustle of looking for the vendors and vendors get the burden of looking for customers off their shoulders. The best part is that you get paid for connecting these parties.

Job Creation

Depending on the requirements, running an E-commerce business may require some sort of technical expertise and if one does not have this skill; one can hire people who can run the business for them. For instance, you may need a system administrator for maintenance of your website. In addition, once an order or booking is done virtually there needs to be a merchandiser to supply the products and people to deliver these products to the customers. Excellent customer service is key to the success of the E-commerce business.

The solution to the high unemployment partly lies partly in the e-commerce sector. It is time skilled but unemployed people considered this form of business.

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I am an upcoming creative writer and pencil artist who has passion for anything art. I like travelling and meeting new people. I am currently pursuing commerce, finance major at the university of Nairobi. Through my writing, I hope to impact in the lives of people. I run my blog at www.mwauramswati.wordpress.com