In order to fully tackle the unemployment problem, experts have called for a multi-dimensional approach which involves both skilling and promoting entrepreneurship.
According to census report Uganda’s population between the productive age of 14 and 64 is slightly over 18m. With 58 per cent of this population group unemployed, it means that Uganda’s total non-utilized labour potential is 10.4m
Despite government’s efforts at creating employment through promoting industrialization and gainful agriculture through operation wealth creation, the country is still struggling with a high unemployment rate.
Mr Ajay Kela, the president and chief executive officer of the Wadhwani Foundation while speaking to University students said unemployment is a big problem in emerging economies like Uganda because of the high population growth amidst few or available jobs.
Mr Kela who was on a visit to Uganda called for promoting entrepreneurship as a way of creating high quality jobs for the youth and also skilling as a way of preparing youth for the job market. He said the high unemployment rate today is also partly due to a disconnect gap between education and job market requirements.
“Today there is a big disconnect gap between what academia is producing and what the job market requires. What happens today is students after college have to go through training in order to be able to fit in the job. That’s a lose- lose proposition because employers are not willing to train them for one year,” he said.
He said there needs to be renewal based learning and access to up to date information is very important in building a complete graduate ready for the job market.
The Wadhwani foundation is committed to accelerating economic development in emerging economies through large scale job creation. In Uganda, the foundation is advancing two initiatives to drive job creation through entrepreneurship and skills development using the National Entrepreneurship network.
The organisation has partnered with Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education (LGIHE) and SOS Children’s Villages for vocational training of students through high-quality multi-media content to enhance their job-readiness.
Ms Maria Kiwanuka, the former minister of finance while speaking at MUBS economic forum said government needs to carry out a structural transformation so that more high value jobs are added for more Ugandans across the country. Kiwanuka urged government to “… focus on human resource transformation by focusing on long term interventions which are specific on what education is offered by looking at courses offered are relevant for the job market,” she said.
Adding that skilling Ugandans especially for the Oil and has sector will create more jobs for the people who can work as wielders, support stuff in the incoming oil and has activities.
Experts have raised apprehensions about Uganda’s youth bulge warning that failure to channel its energy into productive ventures through gainful employment can turn out to be a poisoned chalice.