Kenya is a country with a young population, with over 75% of its population being under the age of 35. Among these young people, the Gen Z and Gen Alpha generations make up a significant portion of the population. In this article, we will explore the cultural and societal differences between Gen Z and Gen Alpha in Kenya.
Gen Z, born between 1995 and 2015, is known for its digital native, independent, and entrepreneurial mindset. They were the first generation to be born into a world where the internet and smartphones were widely available. According to a study by the Communications Authority of Kenya, as of 2021, about 59 million mobile phone devices were connected to mobile networks in the country for the quarter ending September putting the penetration levels at 67.9% in feature phones and 53.4% in smartphones. This has significantly impacted the way Gen Z interacts with the world, with many of them being highly tech-savvy and having a strong online presence. They tend to be more pragmatic, less politically and socially active, and less likely to challenge traditional customs and practices.
Gen Alpha, born between 2010 and 2025, are the newest generation. They are the first to be born entirely in the 21st century, and as such, have grown up in an even more technology-saturated world than Gen Z. They are the children of Millennials and are the most diverse generation yet. They tend to be more independent and have a global mindset, this makes them open to new technologies and ways of communicating. According to a study by the Population Council Kenya, Gen Alpha is more likely to be exposed to diverse cultures and ideas, thanks to the increasing number of parents who are working abroad or sending their children to international schools. They are also more likely to be politically and socially active, as seen in the growing number of youth-led social movements and organizations in the country.
One significant difference between Gen Z and Gen Alpha in Kenya is their approach to education. Gen Z is more likely to have a traditional approach to education, with many of them pursuing higher education to secure a stable job and financial security. On the other hand, Gen Alpha is more likely to have a more innovative approach to education, with many of them being interested in pursuing alternative forms of education such as online classes, apprenticeships, and vocational training. This is reflected in the growing number of online learning platforms and vocational training institutions in Kenya.
Another significant difference between Gen Z and Gen Alpha in Kenya is their approach to career and work. Gen Z is more likely to prioritize job security and financial stability, while Gen Alpha is more likely to prioritize purpose and impact. Both generations prioritize mental health at their career and work approach. According to a study by the International Labour Organization – Global Youth Employment Trends 2020, Gen Alpha is more likely to be interested in pursuing careers in fields such as technology, sustainability, and social impact. This is reflected in the growing number of youth-led social enterprises and start-ups in Kenya.
One organization that is working to bridge the gap between Gen Z and Alpha in Kenya is the Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa (ELF-Africa). We believe that by investing in the next generation of leaders, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society for all. ELF-Africa offers a range of programs and initiatives that cater to the unique needs of Gen Z and Alpha. For example, our mentorship program connects young people with experienced leaders in their fields of interest, allowing them to gain valuable insights and skills. At ELF-Africa, we also have leadership development and governance programs that equip young leaders with the knowledge, skills, and networks needed to lead positive change in their communities. Furthermore, ELF-Africa runs an annual youth and devolution symposium that brings together young leaders from across the continent to network, share ideas, and collaborate on projects as a way of buttressing the efforts of devolution in Kenya.
Furthermore, ELF-Africa is bridging the gap between Gen Z and Alpha through its focus on inclusivity and diversity. We believe that by creating a platform where young leaders from diverse backgrounds can come together, we can foster a more inclusive and equitable society for all. By providing young people with the values, skills, networks, and support they need to become leaders, ELF-Africa is helping to create a more inclusive and equitable society for all young people in Kenya, regardless of their generation.
In conclusion, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are two distinct generations in Kenya, with their own unique characteristics, values, and beliefs. Gen Z is known for its digital native, independent, and entrepreneurial mindset, while Gen Alpha is known for its global mindset and technology-saturated world. Understanding these differences is important for building a more inclusive and equitable society for all young people in Kenya.
By Edward Kipkalya,
This article is part of the #GenerationalMosaics series that focuses on understanding the complexity of generations. The writer is currently the IT Governance Officer at Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa (www.elfafrica.org). You can connect with him via Twitter: @Edward_Kalya