By Joan Akello
The World Bank says there is need for more and better jobs as a prerequisite for transforming Uganda’s economy while launching Uganda’s economic update.
While Uganda’s economy has grown rapidly over the last decade and will continue to do so into the future, a significant proportion of the country’s population is not benefiting from this growth,” Philippe Dongier, World Bank’s country director for Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi said.
Amama Mbabazi agrees. He said that despite the country’s positive economic outlook and performance, challenges such as large informal sector, high levels of youth unemployment, large trade deficit, low domestic savings and low agricultural productivity.
“in 2010, value added per worker in Ugandan agriculture was only US $ 200 per year, in contrast to Brazil’s US $ 4, 183 per worker per year( in Uganda it increased by only 10 percent over two decades compared to an increase of 20 times in Brazil ion the same period),” Amama said.
But there was a debate by participants whether it is the lack of jobs or the lack of skills behind the low production and productivity.
The report notes that the vast of Uganda’s labour force remains employed in low productivity activities, and that the government needs to focus infrastructure and skills to break this trend. In addition, Dongier says it is essential to understand the enterprises and the zones that are already growing and that have potential and remove specific barriers to further accelerating their growth.
Robin Kibuka, board chairman Standard Chartered and a member of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda said both. He said there is need for the government to allocate oil resources to the agriculture sector to avoid the potential Dutch disease because the petrol oil revenues will reduce Uganda’s competitiveness in the export market.
It is estimated that with unemployment rate below 5 percent, with over 75 percent employed by the agriculture sector, and the rest employed in the formal and informal non agriculture sectors.
Maria Kiwanuka said, “The national Identification project is a must for employment creation. It will help government to incentivize for instance employers to take on apprentices, who without IDs will not be planned for.”
She added that the government is no longer an employer but a facilitator therefore urging development partners, the academia and the World Bank to help the government address youth unemployment and “handle the population question without stepping on individual’s personal liberties.”
The update is produced by the World Bank Group and is a six monthly series that handles two parts; a general up date of the economy of Uganda and a more detailed discussion of a specific issue of critical importance to the Ugandan economy. This second edition focuses on the agenda of jobs, challenge of creating productive employment opportunities.
Dongier says the next update will focus on how Uganda can leverage future oil revenues in line with the job agenda.