Uganda strives to invest in youths to tap population dividend

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By Xinhuanet.com (Ronald Ssekandi)

As the world commemorates World Population Day on Thursday, Uganda is striving to invest in its youths to explore the benefits of population dividend. The population day will be commemorated under the theme of “Renewing the promise; empowering the youth to contribute to socio-economic transformation”.

Uganda has one of the youngest and most rapidly growing populations in the world. Figures by the National Population Council (NPC), a state agency that advises the government on population issues, show that Uganda has a population growth rate of 3.3 percent per annum, making it the third fastest growing population in the world. The country’s population is projected to reach 75 million by 2040 from the current 40 million people.

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Youths below the age of 30 make up more than 78 percent of the 40 million people, according to the NPC.

More than 70 percent of the youths are unemployed and this is what the Ugandan government is striving to reverse.

Population experts argue that investing in the youth age group will guarantee a healthy and skilled human resource.

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According to the World Bank, if the increase in the number of working age individuals can be fully employed in productive activities, other things being equal, the level of average income per capita should increase as a result. The youth bulge will become a demographic dividend.

John Ssekamatte, a consultant with Uganda’s National Planning Authority, told reporters on Wednesday that for Uganda to achieve its aspiration of upper middle income status by 2040, the challenge posed by a high population growth has to be addressed.

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“For us to achieve that we must meaningfully engage the population as a productive force because if we don’t, it will be a productive liability,” he said.

Other experts have argued that if a large number of youths cannot find employment and earn satisfactory income, they are likely to become a potential source of social and political instability.

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INVESTMENT

Demographers argue that sustained economic growth is critical in creating opportunities for the youthful population that is entering the labor market. They argue that Uganda needs to invest in growth sectors like agriculture, tourism, oil and gas which can have high job multiplier effect and can spur inclusive economic growth.

The government has embarked on this by first prioritizing areas, which it argues are bottlenecks to economic development. The government is investing heavily in energy and transport infrastructure, so that if the cost of energy is low, more industries would open up and create employment. A better and efficient transport system would also reduce the cost of production since farmers or industrialists would easily transport their products to the market.

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Fred Wabwire, chairperson of the NPC, told reporters on Wednesday that the government has embarked on other measures to improve the skills of the youths to make them economically active.

Wabwire said that besides the provision of free universal primary education and free universal secondary education (USE), the government has embarked on vocational training. When the youths finish basic education, those who are unable to continue to university go to vocational training.

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“Education empowers, it provides information, and if we can keep all the boys and girls in schools up to the end of USE, that intervention scores a lot of marks,” he said.

Wabwire said youths who have completed vocational training can access funding from the government through the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) to start up small enterprises. The YLP, which is based on three pillars of skills development, livelihood support and institutional support, targets unemployed youths, according to ministry of finance.

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United Nations Population Fund argues that the government should continue to invest in the health of the population. The population agency said that the healthiness of the country’s labor force determines the level of productivity.

It argued that for instance as children’s health and survival rates improve, family demand for more children declines. Smaller family sizes improve maternal health, which further improves child health, as well as increase women labor force participation, hence contributing to economic growth.

📷 @Myjoyonline

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Uganda: Beyond The Crowds And Youth Euphoria, Bobi Wine Needs A Program – Katikkiro

BY Softpower.ug (PAUL AMPURIRE)

The Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga has said opposition politician, Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) must do more than pulling crowds and the euphoria that he sparks among the young people, if he is to be considered to lead Uganda.

The Katikkiro said that as much as Bobi Wine, 37, appeals to the young generation, who are the majority population, he needs to come up with a well laid-out program on what he can do for Uganda.

Mayiga was speaking Wednesday while appearing on Straight Talk Africa, a talk show on Voice of America which is hosted by Shaka Ssali.

Asked what his views are about Bobi Wine, the Katikkiro said: “Well, Bobi Wine is a darling of young people and you must realize that the current regime has been around for 33 years”.

“That’s a long time and Bobi Wine is an artiste, and to communicate to people through music is very easy”.

The Katikkiro was then asked to comment on whether he agrees with some people who say Bobi Wine’s future is way ahead of him. When talk regarding Bobi Wine being a potential candidate for Presidency, first emerged a section within the ruling NRM and the public dismissed him as not being fit to contest.

“I don’t know. It all depends on how he wraps up his program and presents it to the people. The French President is very young, there is a Chancellor in Austria who just resigned, he’s 32. He’s younger than Kyagulanyi. President Obama became President at 47. President Kennedy was 43,” Katikkiro said.

“What matters is whether he (Bobi Wine) has readied himself for the job. Beyond the euphoria of the youths. If he wants to be President, then he must have a program beyond the crowds,” he added.

On whether Bobi Wine can count on the support of Mengo, the Katikkiro said Buganda kingdom supports whoever is aligned with the kingdom’s interests.

“Buganda kingdom does not support or oppose anyone. The Buganda kingdom has its own interests. And we wrap them in five key pillars”

He said that any Presidential candidate seeking the support of Mengo “should come over and tell us they are going to support us” on the five issues.

“You respect our heritage and King, we want the federal system of government, we want to protect our land and borders, we want programs for social economic development, and we want the unity of the people, ” he said in outlining the key pillars commonly known as “ensonga ssemasonga ettano”.

“Whoever supports them, then people should vote him,” Mayiga said.

There have been claims pointing to a likelihood of Bobi Wine who is a Muganda, being backed by the establishment in Mengo.

In February this year, in a CNN interview, Bobi Wine for the first time publicly said he was considering running against President Museveni in the 2021 general elections.

The singer launched his political bid in 2017 when he ran for a Parliamentary seat in a by-election in Kyadondo East constituency near the capital, Kampala.

He won the election in a landslide victory after polling 25,659 votes (77%) out of 32,999 votes cast while his closest rival, Sitenda Sebalu of the ruling NRM party polled 4,556.

Since then, the Afro Pop singer has mounted pressure on President Yoweri Museveni’s government, rallying his followers, many of them youths to use their numbers and power change leadership.

He would later coin his ‘People Power’ slogan under which he challenges Ugandans to put an end to a status quo he says only works for a few.

He was among the legislators that challenged the controversial amendments of the Constitution which repealed the Presidential age limit in 2017.

Uganda: Are green jobs the answer to youth unemployment?

By Pmldaily.com (MAURICE MUHWEZI)

The burden of youth unemployment could be reduced by what has become to be called Green Jobs.

“If you are engaged in doing eco-stoves, recycling paper, garbage, ecotourism, planting trees, you are cleaning the environment without harming it, those jobs that reduce pollution, improve energy efficiency, respond to occupational safety, you are engaged in green jobs,” says Mr Pius Bigirimana, permanent secretary Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, whose department is championing the adoption of green jobs.

The government of Uganda is pushing for green occupations because they help reduce negative environmental impact, promote safety and health conditions at work.

With support from the United Nations Development Project (UNDP), the government started implementing the Green Jobs Programme, approved by President Yoweri Museveni in 2016, by targeting both the educated and uneducated youth.

According to Mr Bigiriman, the initiative is driven by the need to enhance labour output and reduce poverty, especially among youth people.

In 2018, the State of Uganda Population report released by the National Population Council showed a spike in poverty in all regions. Across the country, poverty levels grew from 19.7 per cent to 21.7 per cent between the financial years 2012/2013 and 2016/2017.

The report notes that poverty levels are a result of inequality and economic growth that has not addressed the unemployment challenge, especially among women and youths. The youth unemployment rate, on the other hand, is reported at 6.5 per cent.

The ministry of Gender is responding to these challenges with support to businesses in the informal sector, apprenticeship at workplaces, the establishment of industrial business shelter and green incubation centres. It also speaks of promoting social safeguards at workplaces, promoting decent employment abroad and strengthening Kampala Capital City Authority and local governments’ capacity to create green jobs.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Pius Bigirimana. (PHOTO/File)

“We want to set up industrial business shelters with common user facilities, used by young people to do metal fabrication, welding, plumbing, construction, art, design, leatherwork. You will learn the skills from one place so that we have as many young people getting skills,” Mr Bigirimana says.

Besides tackling unemployment and low labour productivity, the growth of green jobs should translate into local production of goods usually imported and consequentially reduce the trade balance if exports are boosted.
On what sort of sectors are Ugandans expected to see these green jobs, Mr Bigirimana says they will be entrenched in every part of the economy but will be more prominent in agriculture, industrial production, labour, tourism, trade and education sectors.

“There will be transformation but more in agriculture because it is the biggest holder of jobs. Our economy has grown but no jobs. Our growth has tended to concentrate in those sectors that do not provide sufficient jobs,” Mr Bigirimana says, “We need to invest more in sectors that have forward and backward linkages.”

So far, government and UNDP have spent about $2m (Shs7.4bn) in the national programme that covers all districts.

As Mr Bigirimana calls for action, a lot has been done on the ground already. About 2000 Jua-kalis in greater Kampala were supported with equipment and trainings. Seven youth and women groups were supported with innovation grants worth Shs70m including Turning Trash into Treasure, Rabbit Cage Project, Bikibiro Community Development Association, Maggots and Earthworm production project and Nansana Empowered Women’s Development Initiative Project.

Skills development is urgently needed, particularly through apprenticeship and volunteering. Information from the ministry shows that the Uganda National Apprenticeship framework was formulated, training orders were drafted while the draft national green jobs strategy was put in place and over 200 technical officers from government and private sector sensitized.

Under the Uganda Green Incubation Programme, more than 100 youths and women found jobs, market and agro-forestry gardens were established, 18 fish ponds, piggery and poultry units were established among other things.
These successes are said to be sifting into the economy. Ten industrial business shelters with common user facilities are in plan and focus will be on mechanical, metal fabrication, welding, plumbing, construction, design, textiles, agro-processing and carpentry.

‘The shelters will also be equipped with utilities like water, ICT, power, stores, sanitary conveniences, restaurants, workplace health promotion areas. Each shelter will house a workplace skilling facility and master craftsperson’s or experienced trainers in different trades,” Mr Bigirimana says.

Uganda: Police to raid vuzu youths

By Nqobile Tshili/Mpumelelo Nyoni

POLICE in Bulawayo will today arrest any rowdy youths found in the central business district and have increased deployment of officers to deal with the scourge of vuzu parties.

Teenagers take drugs and often engage in risky unprotected group sex at the parties.

Police said there is a growing trend of youths causing anarchy in the city centre or organising the infamous parties on the last Saturday before schools open and first Saturday after schools close.

Schools open for the second term on Tuesday.

Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said cops would not only target the rowdy youths but also kombi crews that usually transport them to party destinations.

“On May 2 Officer Commanding Bulawayo Central District Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Phiri held a meeting with several stakeholders including social welfare, National Aids Council, Bulawayo City Council land inspection officers, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and two representatives from parents’ bodies,” said Insp Ncube.

“Of concern was the risky behaviour by these youths, who will be drunk, a nuisance in the city centre and making noise while riding on kombis and hanging from the windows of the cars. There is also a concern that these kids would be abusing dangerous drugs.”

He said in the meeting they resolved to arrest those youths who would be found to be disorderly, drunk and causing commotion in the city centre.

“We want to warn all the youths that we have resolved to increase police deployments in anticipation of their rowdy behaviour. We will also arrest kombi drivers who provide these teenagers transport and impound their vehicles. Therefore, we are appealing to parents to pay closer attention to their children’s activities so that they will not be found on the wrong side of the law,” he said.

Insp Ncube said they will also be conducting an anti-drugs campaign in the city centre as they worry that teens were abusing dangerous substances.

Last week on Saturday, police arrested 49 youths aged between 15 and 25 years for criminal nuisance and public drinking.

Meanwhile, parents in Bulawayo have been urged to create a culture of dialogue with their children in order to preserve the moral fabric of the city’s communities and the future of youths.

At a #AntiVuzu stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) at City Presbyterian Church yesterday, it was resolved that intensive research be undertaken to find the root cause of teenage delinquency and moral degradation, as evidenced by the rise of vuzu parties.

The meeting was attended by various youth-centred non-governmental organisations.

Speaking at the meeting, Junior Chamber International Bulawayo chapter local president Mrs Sinqobile Demadema said sexual immorality among the youth was worrying, adding that some girls as young as 13 years are selling their bodies for jiggies and recharge cards.

Thamsanqa Ndlovu, chairman of Parents Youths Association of Zimbabwe said that parents must work with the Bulawayo City Council and MPs in implementing policies that are meant to safeguard the future of the youth.

“The city council, through its housing and community services department made a policy document on February 9, 2012, named the Sustainable Economic Development Initiative and is meant to benefit youths. As parents, we need to implement the document to alleviate the scourge of drug and sexual abuse among youths.

“We need to engage the youth and find ways of modernising Youth Centres so that they meet their needs. Members of Parliament must also be put to task because the country’s constitution has provisions for reasonable measures and affirmative action that should be taken to deal with the youth,” said Ndlovu.

Ndlovu added that the generational gap between children and parents and technological advancements cannot be blamed for youths engaging in wayward behaviour as parents have a duty to engage their children on issues that affect them.

Source Chronicle

Uganda: Youth Leader Bobi Wine is Freed on Bail

By Elias Biryabarema

Bobi Wine, a Ugandan pop star and lawmaker who is seeking to challenge veteran leader Yoweri Museveni for the presidency, was freed on bail on Thursday after spending two days in jail on charges of staging unlawful protests.

Magistrate Esther Nahirya granted bail after hearing Wine’s application, but told him he would be returned to jail if he engaged in unlawful demonstrations while free.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has rattled authorities with a fast-growing base of supporters who are electrified by his combination of music and biting criticism of Museveni.

He was jailed after being charged with several offences stemming from his championing a demonstration against taxes on social media usage last year.

Wine told the court after submissions by his attorneys that the charges against him are politically motivated and that he is being persecuted “under the guise of prosecution”.

“My business is standing for the truth, my business is standing for what is morally right,” he said via a video link to the court from a jail south of the capital Kampala.

On the day he was jailed police used teargas to disperse groups of youths in various parts of Kampala who were demonstrating against the government and what they see as harassment of Wine for his political ambitions.

Museveni, 74 and in power since 1986, is expected to stand in the next presidential election in 2021. The opposition and some rights activists say the president has grown authoritarian, citing frequent tear-gassing of opposition rallies, jailing of activists and harassment of independent media.

On Wednesday, state media regulator the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) ordered the suspension of several staff at 13 media outlets including radio stations and TVs for broadcasting content “likely to mislead or cause alarm to the public”.

Some of the media outlets had carried live broadcasts of the arrest of Wine and police dispersing his supporters using teargas and water cannons.

Source Reuters

Uganda: Can the current youths’ lifestyle guarantee old age security?

The drug vice is eating at today’s youths and a quick and permanent solution ought to be found in order to numb this cancerous habit


By Emmanuel Luganda

9 years ago, my longtime friend Atwooki lost a grandmother. The strong, black beauty knocking on 82 years succumbed to malaria.

With her angelic smile, Abwooli Kabajungu was my grandmother too, because of the brotherly friendship I have with the grandson.

Her motherly advice of encouraging us to work hard and living a legacy still lingers in my minds.

The strong whirling winds breaking through tree barriers kept us fresh as we laid her body to rest at her scenic home in Fort portal, bordering Mountain Rwenzori.

Abwooli gracefully enjoyed her old age, having saved up enough through her youthful life as a farmer, to enjoy the last years of her life.

Blessed with many sons who would have moved through hurdles to ensure she was covered at every front in relation to her basic needs, Abwooli never came to see those days as she was an old self-sufficient woman.

Even then, not every elderly person has that blessing. If you have lived in Kampala for even a month, you might have chanced on an elderly person either selling tomatoes, charcoal or working a 14-hour shift in a shop.

While working is commendable, for an elderly person, it should not be a means for survival, rather a hobby or way of keeping occupied.

That is why it is paramount that youths start saving for their retirement as early as possible. In Uganda, youths are ranked between 18 and 35 years but in this demographic, employment commences around 23 years after they have completed their education at tertiary level. It is eyebrow-raising that some of the employed youth believe they are still young to save and procrastinate on this safety net for the indefinite future.

Youths should know that savings will, at length, be a source of future survival. Employment is not perpetual and not especially in this era, where companies are increasingly downsizing because of rising operational costs. There is an ill-advised sense of complacency that creeps in, when most of us begin earning money, that we in most cases cannot see the forest for the trees or we simply just lose sight of the future, forgetting retirement is a reality. In essence, as a worker, you have between 23/4 and 50 years of gathering savings to cater for the rest of your life.

In light of the prevailing status quo, the million dollar question is; can the current youth lifestyle choices ensure old age security? Majority of the country’s youth have long fallen into the habit of wasteful spending, indulging themselves in alcohol and drug binges and parties. According to Police records, 2463 adult males and 151 adult females were involved in narcotics or drugs in 2017.

The drug vice is eating at today’s youths and a quick and permanent solution ought to be found in order to numb this cancerous habit.

These shortcomings among the youth are deterring their efforts for growth.

At the moment, the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) has devised various ways for people to cater to those ready to save for the future without feeling the pinch.

Schemes such as the National Social Security Fund, regulated by URBRA deducts 5 per cent off your salary which is bolstered by your employer who adds 10 per cent to be dedicated to your retirement savings.

The savings are entitled to interest earnings on an annual basis, which will be given to you at 55 years, upon your request.

Last year, members of NSSF earned a 15 per cent interest on their savings attributed to the good performance of the fund.

While NSSF caters for those formally employed or previously formally employed, URBRA licensed Mazima and KACITA retirement schemes that allow the informal sector to save for their retirement.

In many aspects, Uganda’s informal sector which makes up 80% of the country’s labour work force has lagged behind in terms of saving for retirement.

Through the years, informal Sector Schemes have given an opportunity to the informal community to save for the future.

These savings are also subjected to interest earnings since their savings are invested.

In light of that, it is important to bring people to terms with URBRA’s regulatory framework, which ensures that individual member savings are safe and available for requisition at the point of retirement.

One may want to argue that many youths are unemployed, which is true.

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 13.3 per cent of the youths between the 18-30 age group is unemployed.

In a bid to support the unemployed youth, Government has introduced many projects aimed at helping youth acquire skills to create their own jobs as well as seed capital for businesses.

The projects are also not in isolation of the private sector which has strongly empowered the youth to acquire skills and knowledge to prosper.

It is now incumbent on youth especially those in the formal education system to seek for experience prior to completion of university.

For instance, if youth started volunteering and interning while in their first year at university, they would graduate with at least three years’ experience in their work of interest.

Volunteering and internships give youth the opportunity to grow their work experience which is a major challenge for those in search of jobs.

So fellow youth, old age security is guaranteed on savings accumulated through your youth hood which calls for hard work and planned spending.

I implore every youth to adopt the Jewish spending model; They tithe, save, invest, give to charity and then spend.

Source New Vision