In Summary
  • Where to create jobs. Majority of Ugandans are still employed in the agricultural sector and more jobs should be created in this sector. As a country, we need to devise means of meeting the global quality standards of various products and services for export by working and learning from the best through various twinning arrangements supported by government as part of wealth creation.

There is a historic correlation between economic growth (wealth creation) and job creation (employment). Employment increases when wealth increases. When economic activity increases, wealth is being created, and jobs increase. So, wealth creation decreases unemployment. Thus, when a country wants to address unemployment, it focuses on wealth creation. Therefore, the efforts of President Museveni on wealth creation is a step in the right direction and should be commended and supported by all Ugandans.

Many educated Ugandans are unemployed because they lack requisite skills in their respective disciplines. For example, a Ugandan trained mechanical engineer with requisite skills that meets international standards, is globally demanded and can work anywhere in the world. Every graduate should possess both hard and soft skills. The quality of hard skills acquired depends on several factors, including the quality of the teachers, the quality of the teaching facilities and aids, and the quality of industrial/ field training attachments.

Majority of graduates coming out of Ugandan institutions can be rated as having average hard skills and in most cases, lacking soft skills. This greatly affects their productivity. So, one way of addressing unemployment is for the government to re-engineer training institutions across the country with the aim of producing graduates with hard and soft skills that are globally competitive. This is because in Uganda, we masquerade a lot. Quite often, you find a teacher teaching students what they do not know or have never done. How can a teacher train a student to be an expert in an area they are not? One must possess the skills they want to pass one.

President Museveni has identified four key sectors in which wealth/jobs can be created i.e. commercial agriculture, industries, services and ICT. However, in reality, ICT is not a sector of its own; it is part of industries and services. Technology is a critical enabler of the Service Industry.

For instance, information technology systems are shaping the way businesses in the service sector operate. Businesses are placing more focus on the knowledge economy, or the ability to surpass competitors by understanding what target customers want and need, and operate in a way that meets those wants and needs quickly with minimal cost. In nearly all industries, businesses adopt new technology to bolster production, increase speed and efficiency, and cut down on the number of employees required for operation.

In summary, there are three recognised economic sectors. The first economic sector, the primary sector, covers the farming, mining, and agricultural business activities in the economy. The secondary sector covers manufacturing and business activities that facilitate the production of tangible goods from the raw materials produced by the primary sector. The service or tertiary sector is the third piece of a three-part economy. Countries with economies centered on the service sector are considered more advanced than industrial or agricultural economies. The service sector is the largest sector of the global economy in terms of value-added and is especially important in more advanced economies.

According to the US Census Bureau, the service sector comprises various service industries, including education, warehousing, transportation services, electricity, gas and water supply; information services - media, computer services, communications, real estate and other investment services; securities, retail, banks, hotels, social work and other professional services; waste management; healthcare and social assistance; and arts, entertainment such as music concerts, and recreation.

According to the CIA World Fact Book, the following ten countries are the largest by service or tertiary output as of 2018: United States, $15.5 trillion; China, $6.2 trillion; Japan, $3.4 trillion; Germany, $2.5 trillion; United Kingdom, $2.1 trillion; France, $2.0 trillion; Brazil, $1.5 trillion; India, $1.5 trillion; Italy, $1.4 trillion; and Canada, $1.2 trillion.

Going by President Museveni’s prioritised sectors for wealth creation, we need to learn from the best and work with the best if we are going to competitively break into the African and global markets. So, whether its commercial agriculture, industries, or services, we need twinning arrangements supported by the government to build and enhance local capacity. We need to learn from China, Brazil, India, South Korea, or Mauritius to mention but a few. For instance, there was a time when Makerere University could not produce a PhD graduate, but through twinning with mainly Scandinavian universities, Makerere University now produces many excellent PhD graduates with cutting edge research and innovation skills.

Majority of Ugandans are still employed in the agricultural sector and more jobs should be created in this sector. As a country, we need to devise means of meeting the global quality standards of various products and services for export by working and learning from the best through various twinning arrangements supported by government as part of wealth creation.

President Museveni was recently quoted as saying government has identified 13 projects, including boda boda groups, women entrepreneurs, carpentry, salons, taxi operators, restaurants, welders, market vendors, youth leaders, people with disabilities, produce dealers, mechanics, and tailors and that the proposal has already been introduced to Cabinet.

There is also a proposal of focusing on the four-acre model, split into an orchard, a poultry/piggery undertaking, a dairy project plus pasture and some food crops. This is a good strategy as part of alleviating poverty but cannot transform Uganda into a middle-income country. So, as a country, we need to focus on medium and large scale business within the strategic sectors to create wealth and high paying jobs for majority of Ugandans.

Prof Baryamureeba is a former presidential candidate.

barya@utamu.ac.ug