SEATINI Uganda together with other stakeholders encourage Youth to be innovate in order to penetrate the competitive market
In commemoration of the International Labour Day 2021, the National Youth Council in collaboration with SEATINI Uganda and other partners organised the first ever National Youth Labour Conference under the theme “Realising the untapped potential”
The conference which brought together national and regional youth leaders, University students, youth members of parliament, civil society organisations and representatives from Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss the emerging challenges and opportunities for the youth in Uganda’s Labour market so as to elevate the potential and contribution of our country’s young population in the competitive world today.
While welcoming participants to the conference, Mr. Jacob Eyeru the Chairperson of the National Youth Council noted that, “Personal experience is marked by an individual’s cultural norms of traditions, while a youth’s level of dependency means the extent to which they still rely on their family emotionally and economically.”
The guest of honour during the conference was Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyinji, the State Minister for Youth and Children Affair. While making the key note address, Hon. Nakiwala noted that 1.6 million youth didn’t have jobs before COVID-19 and the situation has worsened since then. She therefore encouraged youth to be more innovate and create jobs that will lead into wealth creation for a better and a safe future. “As a Youth, look for the best opportunities that are there. Don’t just fall into a job and do it and end there.” She added
During the first panel discussions, Ms. Grace Namugambe, a Programme Officer at SEATINI Uganda highlighted that before Parliament passes the proposed tax amendments, and citizens are expected to share their concerns on the measures. However, many youths are not interested, have limited knowledge on the process and some are not even aware that they pay taxes. She therefore urged the youth to pay their taxes and demand for accountability from duty bearers on how the collected revenue is put to use.
Other key issues raised included;
• The high rate of unemployment has hindered the youth’s ability to sustain a living for themselves
• Increased corruption among government officials especially when it comes to youth lively programs for example the money allocated to the youth does not reach the intended target
• The agriculture sector is not considered viable for employment and remains highly unattractive to the youth due to the high risks, labour intensive nature and low financial returns.
• The youth have not been engaged in all the taxation process and this is hindering them from holding their leaders accountable for the services they need to render for them.
Some of the recommendations to the youth included;
• Entrepreneurship is a solution to the big problem of unemployment faced majorly by the youth in these times. Therefore, youth should actively engage themselves in entrepreneurship programmes
• 63% of workers in Agriculture are young people, this means Agriculture is a major interest area for youth employment. Therefore, Youth should engage themselves in such ventures
• Strategic development and planning are important and the government needs to take on initiatives to see that strategic developments are made in certain areas especially for the youth.
In the second panel discussion, Tomusange Rogers a Program Assistant at SEATINI Uganda shared insights on the role of the youth in the Agriculture Investment. In his submission, Tomusange noted that Investment in the agricultural sector is extremely important and urgently needed to address some of the challenges faced by the youth. Agribusiness provides jobs for the young people and can also help the country to achieve its desired development goals.
Progress in this arena, offers great potential for alleviating unemployment and underemployment in the country. However, large-scale investment schemes in agriculture have posed risks related to human rights and land rights. These risks are most acutely felt by rights-holders including the youth. They have reputational, financial, or other implications for the government and investors.
Much as the youth are not attracted into agriculture and are leaving the sector, the absolute numbers of youth who are dependent on farming or livestock production is likely to increase because of population growth. Youth tend to favor modern agriculture practices, use of technology, and opportunities for “quick money” with relatively higher returns.
Youth decisions to engage in agriculture work are also shaped by the environment in which they live: the economic and political context, social norms and customs, the nature of the Agric-food system, institutions, laws and regulations, parental and peer influence, media, previous experiences, and gender relations.
In order to address the issues,
• First, governments must be held responsible for investing in youth through a commitment to providing financial support, including increased spending on youth initiatives along agricultural value chains.
• Youth must be empowered through opportunities to engage in agribusiness enterprises and linkages to private sector and development agencies.
• Investment policies that hinder the participation of the youth in commercial agriculture need to be redressed to incorporate the concerns of the youth.
The youth in Uganda are the key agents of social change, economic growth, development and technological innovation. Therefore, such discussions targeting them are key in order for them to appreciate their role as key agents for change in the push for inclusive development in Uganda.