By Chris Kiwawulo
The US government has pledged sh50m towards nurturing Uganda’s young entrepreneurs as a way of developing the country. The US assistant Secretary of State for educational and cultural affairs, Evan Ryan, on February 3, 2014, signed the grant that will benefit Ugandan entrepreneurs, a statement from the US embassy in Kampala revealed.
“The grant, funded by American people, is awarded to alumni of President Barrack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) to support youth entrepreneurship efforts in Uganda,” the statement noted.
Entitled ‘Empowering Youth Entrepreneurship through Hands-On Innovation, Creativity, and Skills Training’, the project aims at educating young people about entrepreneurship and helping them build the skill necessary to start their own businesses.
During her remarks, Ryan stated; “This project will not only teach young Ugandans the skills they will need to begin a life as entrepreneurs, it will also help them create a vision for themselves and their country as a nation of job-creators.
“By the time they finish this program it is our hope that they will be infused with the entrepreneurial mindset that has done so much to make the United States what it is today. I believe this sprit is crucial to the future of Uganda.”
YALI Alumni Rusia Orikiriza Bariho of Oribags Innovations, Ltd., Grace Nanyonga Mugisha of Grana Fish Supplies, Ltd., and Arthur Tumusiime Asiimwe of Makerere University will teach product development, organizational leadership, fish processing skills, and design principles to Ugandan secondary school students.
Five four-day trainings will be carried out at schools in Kalangala, Mukono and Jinja districts over the next six months, the statement added.
Ryan added, “The US is committed to the future of Africa and African youth. YALI is just one example of that commitment. We do not see youth as a problem to be solved, but rather a resource to be tapped.”
A total of 500 selected young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa will travel to the US in June for six weeks of skills and leadership training at top American universities and meet with President Obama.
Upon return from their fellowship, they will have opportunities for networking, ongoing professional development, seed funding, and community service.
YALI seeks to give African leaders of tomorrow the tools they will need to create a secure, healthy, democratic, and prosperous future.