A World Bank report on the African Development indicators (ADI) 2008/2009 shown that 56% of Uganda’s population was under 18 years old. It also reported that Uganda had the youngest population as well as the highest Youth unemployment in the World. Last financial year, the Government of Uganda set up a Youth Development Fund with resources contributed by Government in partnership with German development agency (KFW) amounting to sh12.5b, the government then signed an agreement with three commercial banks, the Development Finance of Uganda (DFCU) bank, Stanbic Bank and Centenary Rural Development Bank who also contributed additional equal amount (12.5b), to create sh25b youth joint venture fund.
“We have agreed to a fixed interest rate of 15% until July when it shall be reviewed and all our charges and loan management fees have been capped at 1% fees,” Juma Kisaame the DFCU Bank boss said. (http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/628717-govt-releases-sh25b-youth-fund.html)
This money was meant to support the growth of business ventures owned by the youth aged between 18 and 35 years and help create jobs for young people. The money was also supposed to target start-up and small businesses to address bottlenecks of accessing affordable loans and focus on improving the competitiveness of the business environment to enable the private sector to play a dominant role for employment generation, which would be enforced by vocational training,”
The fund would also be used to support viable and sustainable small and medium-sized enterprises across the country because these comprise over 90% of the private sector. These SMES contribute to employment creation, provision of basic goods and services and the generation of tax revenues,”
However to date, none of the Youth in the country have been able to access this Fund- so where is the problem? There is evidence that Uganda Youth are enterprising people, have good morals and are willing to try out various entrepreneurial ventures, so why is the Government failing the Youth? Youth Representations in Parliament even threatened to undress and march through town naked if this wouldenable the Youth access these funds.
Just last week, we had the Youth in the central region marching through the streets of Kampala, in protest. They have gone to such extremes including eating the Police “ Posho and Beans” a meal that was meant for lunch for the police personnel guarding Kampala City Council Authority . Tomorrow these are our future leaders and the media will not hesitate to pull out these pictures of Posho/Beans munching personalities to destroy their images. And as a country we lose out on these “budding plants”
I urge that we in positions of authority should not be playing with opportunities that can advance this country. It is through the entrepreneurial spirit of the Youth that Uganda will become a better place to live.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org