Algeria has become the first country in Africa to start paying unemployed youth a monthly stipend to help them find a footing as they search for jobs. All those aged between 19 and 40 and are unemployed are eligible for the monthly payment.
According to government records, 580,000 jobseekers will receive at least 10,000 shillings monthly. The numbers are expected to rise as more continue to enlist in the program. Algeria is said to have at least 44 million people who are unemployed.
The government of Algeria is banking on the rise of revenue from oil that has been occasioned by the war between Russia and Ukraine to help sustain the program. The employment authority says it has already received 1 million applications that are being assessed.
“This bonus is our right” but not enough, said Walid, an unemployed Algerian who picked up his allowance Monday. “I am married and have two children. I would have liked it to be accompanied by health coverage.”
Many are, however, skeptical saying that the program might not be sustainable and that, as it is the norm in the country, it will be marred with corruption and nepotism and the poor will not get to enjoy it. They also feel the government is using it for political mileage.
Closer home, in Kenya, politicians are traversing the country promising heaven to millions of jobless youths. Raila Odinga has promised to give every poor household 6000 shillings monthly to sustain them. One wonders how that will succeed when the government has been struggling to give the elderly just 2000 shillings monthly.
William Ruto, the man known for uncounted and unfulfilled promises has promised to set aside at least 100 billion shillings to address the issue of unemployment. This is the same man who had promised that his government would create at least 100,000 jobs annually. It is now almost 10 years.