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Finance Bill Protests: Creating Value Amid Kenya’s Economic Crisis.


Kenya has witnessed a major youth-led movement emerging, driven by discontent with government economic policies such as the now-rejected 2024 Finance Bill. The bill proposed increased taxes on essential goods and services, leading to extensive protests led by Kenya’s Gen Z.

Kenyan Gen Z, who constitute about 33% of the population, used social platforms like WhatsApp and Zello to coordinate and lead protests. Major demands focused on the high cost of living, unemployment, corruption, and government accountability.

This unrest in Kenya echoes similar historical movements like the Civil Rights Movement and Occupy Wall Street in the United States. Parallel to the Civil Rights Movement, Kenya’s youth are leading demonstrations and mass action with justice and equality as their main objectives.

Inferring comparisons with Occupy Wall Street, the economic focus and social media utilization highlight economic disparities and critique policies that widen the economic divide in the country.

Tackling these problems requires acquiring an innovative and sustainable solutions approach. Here’s where Creating Shared Value (CSV) comes in. Entrepreneurship is about addressing societal problems, advancing human welfare, and gaining economic advantages. Valid business models constitute three crucial elements: value creation pegged on solving a problem, value distribution, and how value is captured back as economic benefits.

CSV advocates for enterprises solving societal challenges while adding value. This warrants that companies not only focus on profit making but capture social value by addressing societal challenges such as poverty, unemployment, hunger, and inequality. Embedding CSV into business models will mitigate factors driving the current Gen Z protests in Kenya.

Practical ways of applying CSV call for businesses to innovate products and services addressing the high cost of living. By innovating these solutions, the private sector will directly impact young Kenyans’ daily lives. Engaging and promoting ethical behaviors will combat corruption, restoring trust and accountability in systems.

The role of the government is in fostering an environment conducive to CSV’s success. Encouraging and mainstreaming policies that promote the private sector to embrace CSV practices enables the government to bridge economic growth with social progress. This might involve offering incentives for businesses prioritizing sustainability and contributing to societal welfare.

The protests in Kenya point to a notable shift in political dynamics by stressing issue-based activism over traditional tribal affiliations. When enterprises embrace CSV principles, they will lead this transformation towards economic and social change. In essence, entrepreneurship transcends profit-making to mold a more just society, enabling sustainable development and shared prosperity.


Article By Suzy Nyongesa.


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