By Shamim Saad
Uganda’s minister of trade and industry, Amelia Kyambadde is targeting youth in the NRM Manifesto and National Development Plan, she has said.
The 57-year-old minister made an open appeal for the mentoring of youth – who she said make up the largest population of Uganda – to enhance their participation in economical development of the country.
She was attending the Junior Achievement Expo at Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA)’s main exhibition hall last weekend.
Estimated statistics place 56% of Uganda’s youth as being under 18 years of age.
The trade event was targeted at acknowledging excellent performance from various players that would encourage business competition.
Many youth in Uganda are recurrently confronted by a number of challenges, ranging from unemployment, low productivity and limited access to markets, to poor entrepreneurship skills, inadequate value addition facilities, among several other obstacles.
Minister Kyambadde noted that emerging economies like China and India invest a lot in their populace, especially through provision of “quality programmes and similar youth mentorship schemes”.
She explained that such schemes have been key in transforming the attitude of the young people into being job creators, and not job seekers.
The ministry of trade and cooperatives is targeting the youth as a vital asset in achieving its vision and objectives, Kyambadde said.
Through affiliated organizations, the Management Training and Advisory Centre, Nakawa has developed short business courses that will see youth improve their business skills in areas of marketing, accounting, and more.
Kyambadde directed the attention of youth to personalities like Steven Arinaitwe, Joseph Ahimbisibwe, Sharon Amumpiire and Luke Kisaka for inspiration.
The named “living testimonies”, she said, are mentoring young people in businesses that can help enhance household incomes and improve livelihoods.
Josephine Kaleebi, the CEO of Junior Achievement Uganda said the dream of Uganda becoming a middle-income economy can be achieved with a strong and sustained foundation that ought to be laid now.
That initiative, Kaleebi predicted, will catapult Ugandans out of their current “negative and resigned mindset”.
“Let’s get them young; they will influence the adults and cause a fast paradigm shift,” she said.
“Without any doubt, economic prosperity of Uganda is possible and this is the time to start nurturing the same.”
Twenty-seven (27) agribusiness companies participated in the Junior Achievement Uganda company competition.
Quantum Company, managed by students from Uganda Martyrs’ Namugongo S.S., was voted the best company and was awarded sh1m.