In a country with a rich heritage there are many people who are now increasingly being excluded from employment, social services and powerful positions.According to the World Bank, the drivers of this exclusion include levels of education, ethnic identity, religion and educational background.
By John Odyek
In a country with a rich heritage there are many people who are now increasingly being excluded from employment, social services and powerful positions.
According to the World Bank, the drivers of this exclusion include levels of education, ethnic identity, religion and educational background.
The World Bank points out that social inclusion is not just about poverty reduction or about reducing income inequality; it is the process of improving the ability, opportunity and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society.
The World Bank has urged Uganda to ensure that as the economy grows and it pursues it vision of becoming a middle income some people are not left out to enjoy these benefits.
“Social inclusion is becoming more urgent for Uganda. Profound transitions like the changing population structure, urbanization, climate change, information revolution and natural resource driven growth are creating new opportunities but also risks for inclusion,” said Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye, country manager World Bank Uganda.
This was during the launch of a World Bank publication entitled: “Inclusion matters. The Foundation for Shared Prosperity”. The function took place at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala.
Tarsis Kabweygyere , minister for general duties Office of the Prime minister who launched the report said inclusion was a question of power. “The resources however plentiful but not every- one gets. There are those who access them easily and those who struggle to get them.
Those in power should ensure they can distribute resources to all equally,” he said.
The launch of report witnessed by a heated debate between MPs led by Betty Anywar backed by Dr Zac Niringiye, a civil society activists who contended that exclusion was a big problem in Uganda. Anywar argued that few people were benefitting from existing opportunities and others were blocking the door of opportunities for others.
“Others are taking all the resources, taking money from government projects while others are in darkness, suffering from nodding disease. People will protest because they don’t feel included,” Anywar said.
Niringiye said the challenge was not to address inclusion but to address the problem of greed. “The World Bank is not necessarily an enabler of inclusion, it is a community of greedy people. The history and politics of Uganda has been a history of exclusion of some against others,” Niringiye said.
Maitreyi Bordia Das, a lead author, lead social development specialist World Bank said the World Bank policies are now to focus more on inclusion on top of its policies of ending extreme hunger and shared prosperity.
Maitreyi Bordia Das said inclusion is the process of improving the terms and conditions for individuals and groups, improving the ability, opportunity and dignity of people disadvantaged on the basis of their identity to take part in society.
She said issues such as identities, religion, education background, race, gender can be drivers for exclusion. “Change towards social inclusion is possible. Change needs multiple actors including politicians and civil societies. Inclusion should be set as a long term agenda. It is built through institutions and appropriate incentives,” she said.
She cautioned that policies can create exclusion when they are meant to create inclusion. She said it was wrong to say that the disadvantaged people should improve their attitude to get out of their predicament.
Mary Karooro, minister for gender, labour said there are constitutional issues such as region balance, gender, non- discrimination that embedded in the law to prevent exclusion.
Phillipe Dongier, country director said social inclusion was necessary for peace, stability, harmony and prosperity. “There is evidence that inclusion can be achieved through the right quality education. NGO leaders can help excluded people have confidence. We need balanced growth with equity, inclusion,” Dongier said.
In the last two decades Uganda has made huge progress in education. It has also had dramatic decline in poverty and has witnessed steady growth. Yet, significant challenges for social inclusion remain, and new ones are emerging.
Include all people in economic growth-World Bank