Youth unemployment in Uganda, as is the case elsewhere, is a structural problem. So how does Ugandan address those structural issues? Well, it simply cannot do so? Why? Think about it for a moment. Youth unemployment is also a problem in many Western countries. For example, the unemployment rate for Africa-American and Latino youth is very high relative to their white peers. This is fact.I am sure, even in the UK, a similar trend can be discerned from the data. And we are talking about countries that have tried to put into place targeted measures to address the youth unemployment problem. To see the difficulty Uganda faces, look at the way unemployment or employment is calculated. The odds are not good for the Ugandan youths.
Let me be blunt: there is no government in the world that creates enough jobs for those youths willing to take them with such a high population rate like the one in Uganda. I am sorry to say but Ugandans are the authors of their misery.The day Ugandans will consider quality over quantity is the day progress will be made in improving the welfare. I know many in UAH believe that the high population growth rate is actually a good thing for Uganda. To those I say, wrong. The facts are there for those with eyes to see in Uganda and other African countries. The youths live wretched lives. I mean wretched in all senses.But since the government must be seen to be serious, I suggested before, let it try to hire 20 youths, 10 women and men in each sub county to do PWD related work. FYI, in Western countries this is how they create summer employment for youth. Repair or maintenance of public infrastructure is very productive.
Something tells me that Ugandan youths will not take up the job even when offered. Why? When we talk about unemployment or employment, it is about white collar jobs? Blame the colonial mentality if you will but Ugandans youths who have gone to school, never mind how far, despise PWD work. They would rather stay in their wretched conditions than be seen working on such projects. There lies the problem. Remind the Ugandan musician who sang about combining poverty with stubbornness? He or she was spot on.
So where are the jobs? Mark you manufacturing is dead thanks to globalization. In the past youth used to rush to urban centres shopping to win the lottery of being hired in Chillington, NYTIL, UCI, TICAF, MULCO, ATM, BAT, KILEMBE name it. Not anymore.
Let the government dare the youth with just 20 spots in every sub county as a trial run.I am sure Uganda would do well with more help in the teaching sectors especially for UPE and USE.So the problem of youth unemployment is complicated.The situation is depressing but again, Ugandans not the state are to blame. There is family planning folks, so use it or else.The real question is this? Given the population growth rate in Uganda, is there something YKM can do to improve the welfare of the youth without impact on the real cause which is huge population growth? Put differently, what is the proposal to address the root cause of the problem? Remember both are real and not nominal problems.
Do you think if YKM ok, NRM were to offer unemployed youths jobs to work in what sued to be the PWD-Public Works Department to maintain rural roads in their respective sub counties, the youth would take them? Suppose every sub county was to employ 20 youths-10 women and 10 men-to repair or patch up road, what would be the impact? How many sub counties are there in Uganda? What would be the multiplier effect of such a gesture? And how much should those hired be paid anyways? May be 20 is high given the small size of sub counties today, but those hired would be working for at least 3 days a week.
I bring this up because it was one of the ideas the DP manifesto team grappled with.
Now what would be the immediate benefits? Well 20 youths from each sub county would have jobs. They would support their families and local business. But above all, roads that are impassable today would be passable. Passable roads would have a real impact on local economies. A friend told me that oranges from Busoga are rotting because the roads are terrible. Another one said mangoes from Teso too cannot find their way to local markets due to bad roads. And yes bananas from deep in Kiboga would be easily delivered. Fresh fish from goes to waste because it cannot be delivered in time to markets. So let us hope the government is serious.