Have you heard your former colleagues say they are selfemployed? Some have already built sustainable businesses while others are in the process. But what exactly is self-employment in a fairly learned country with limited capital goods? (Capital goods are commodities, often referred to as raw materials that are used in manufacturing to make consumable products). In a country with an influx of bright minds, thanks to the good 8-4-4 education system that made white and blue collar scholars, lack of capital goods creates a huge gap between knowledge resource and capital resource for production. Self-employment among the white collar class in Kenya is likely to mean consultancy. To the experienced professionals, consultancy means running a firm that wins tenders to advice governments, multinationals, established corporations and NGOs. On the other hand, to fresh graduates and senior college students, consultancy means getting short and subcontracts with established consultancies, offering outsourced professional services to private individuals at senior levels, exporting labour through academic writing, and copywriting for SEO and actually travelling abroad to countries with sufficient capital goods to work for better pay. According to a CBK report released in January 2021, diaspora remittances have steadily increased to become Kenya’s leading foreign exchange earner ahead of agricultural exports and tourism. These remittances are made by Kenyans who go abroad to work. In Kahawa Wendani and parts of Kasarani area in Nairobi, all bills by a majority of the residents are paid from online writing and forex trading. Economist, David Ndii calls himself a public intellectual and has actually been hired to think and strategize for a living. Ndii is one among many intellectual entrepreneurs in Kenya. Knowledge is a resource that can be exchanged for money. Kenya is ahead of its peers in the continent as it is producing the best minds in tech, law, research, medicine, engineering, economics and finance on the global stage. Government can best support this fast growing sector by democratizing access to fast internet and upgrading the quality of education in all parts of the country.
Columned by Rick Okinda