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Low Number of STEM Graduates From Local Universities Lags Kenya Behind Other Economies – Kenya Economic Update Reports

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Low Number of STEM Graduates From Local Universities Lags Kenya Behind Other Economies – Kenya Economic Update Reports.

The World Bank, in its latest report titled “Kenya Economic Update: From Recovery to Better Jobs,” identifies the shortage of science and engineering graduates from local universities as a significant hindrance to the growth of Kenyan start-ups.

According to data from the Commission for University Education (CUE), the majority of bachelor’s degree graduates in 2017/18 were from education (26%) and business, administration, and law (25%), while only 12% pursued science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.

ALSO READ: 103 STEM Schools: Kenya Prioritizes STEM Education for Future Career Opportunities

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Similarly, at the PhD level, business administration and law accounted for the highest number of doctorates awarded (33%), followed by education (19%) and STEM courses (13%). The World Bank emphasizes that although numerous companies emerge in Kenya, their ability to scale up is limited, leading to constrained job opportunities. Most Kenyan firms are small, concentrated in Nairobi, and operate informally.

The report highlights a shortage of qualified science graduates, which diminishes the talent pool available to Kenyan start-ups. This deficit also contributes to Kenya’s technological lag behind its peers.

Additionally, Kenya faces challenges in accessing physical capital, inadequate infrastructure, and a relatively small domestic market. The country’s entrepreneurs encounter difficulties in obtaining financing and contend with a subpar regulatory environment compared to other economies.

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Kenya boasts over 138,000 formal establishments and 7.4 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). However, only a small fraction of formal firms have significant employment figures, with just 3% employing 50 or more workers and 1% having 150 or more employees.

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The World Bank suggests reducing trade barriers, particularly in the services sector, enhancing digital technology access, and improving training and skills development to facilitate firm expansion and job creation.

Keith Hansen, the World Bank’s country director for Kenya, stresses the importance of creating an environment conducive to the growth and innovation of new firms to foster the generation of higher-quality jobs on a large scale.

ALSO READ: Kenya Hosts 17 African Nations for STEM Education Planning

“When firms reach a critical mass, and are able to access larger markets, use technology, and expand exports, this results in increased productivity, better-quality jobs, and higher standards of living for large parts of the population.”

Low Number of STEM Graduates From Local Universities Lags Kenya Behind Other Economies – Kenya Economic Update Reports.

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