Authored Articles Skills Development

Skills development is crucial for Uganda’s economic growth

At the presentation of Uganda’s 32.7 trillion Budget last month on the theme: ‘Industrialisation for job creation and shared prosperity’, Finance minister Matia Kasaija highlighted how government had set aside a substantial budget for the Youth Livelihood Programme that is meant to train, fund, equip and provide alternative employment and income for a large section of the country’s youth, who are unemployed.

With the government’s strategic policy shift from not just education, but also skills for income generation and employability, a leading global foundation, The Wadhwani Foundation, is already providing a spring board for university students to learn the entrepreneurial skills that will make them better prepared for the world.

With a strategic aim of aligning and building skills required for the job market, The Foundation launched its skills initiative, the Global Skills Network (GSN) in Uganda last year, to support the development of a stronger and skilled work force. The initiative is being run through technical and vocation institutes that are now training grounds for eager youth keen at advancing their knowledge on core employability skills. Partnership agreements have been signed with several technical and vocation institutes to support the introduction of core employability skills education to thousands of students.

Further, the Wadhwani Foundation has launched its entrepreneurship initiative, the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN). The initiative has the major aim of developing the ecosystem for new entrepreneurs through supporting entrepreneurship education. The scheme also facilitates the startup and SME eco-system through furthering student’s access to knowledge, mentor and investor resources. This initiative is being run through partnerships with Kyambogo University, Kampala International University and Bugema University.

At the budget reading, the Finance minister highlighted the all-important skills development initiative that is seeing the informal sector grow. The number of Ugandan employees in the formal sector grew at an average annual growth rate of 6 per cent between 2010 and 2013 and the national unemployment rate declined from 11 per cent in 2013 to 9 per cent in 2017. He laid bare areas that were still letting down the income growth for the economy. These, as he pointed out, are: Inadequate or inappropriate skilled labour failing to meet the manpower requirements for the job market; low entrepreneurial knowledge and limited application of technologies in production processes, particularly in agriculture and industry; limited availability of patient and appropriate long-term finance to start or boost SMEs and private sector investment.

To cover up all possible areas of skills equipping gaps, the Wadhwani Foundation has signed MoUs with the Uganda Association of Private Vocation Institutions (UGAPRIVI) for vocational training of students through high-quality multi-media content to enhance their job-readiness. The UGAPRIVI is an umbrella organisation for private vocational training institutions in Uganda.

Read More: Daily Monitor