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Wake up and beat poverty – Museveni tells Ugandan youths

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has urged youths to engage more actively in commercial production to get out of poverty. He said that the youth are sleeping while the few who are partially awake are involved in subsistence production only focusing on survival.

Museveni made reference to his life journey and highlighted that at 14, he was already engaged in farming and gaining skills for commercial agriculture at a government ranch in Western Uganda. Museveni was speaking from the State Lodge in Nakasero at a function to commemorate the International Youth Day.

Museveni said that the youths need to acquire skills, specialize and grab all the opportunities at their disposal in the various sectors of production. He also reiterated a call against land fragmentation that he says has crippled efforts for mass production in the country.

He expressed dismay that Ugandans despite available resources cannot satisfy existing markets. He cited Uganda’s failure to supply animals to the Egypt-Uganda Food Security Company, a facility with a holding capacity of 5000 animals and a possibility to slaughter 400 animals every day.

Museveni says that if Ugandans worked collectively, they would be able to raise the required supplies for the market.

Meanwhile, as part of the celebrations, Museveni launched the Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Facility founded by the United Nations Development Program-UNDP to enable youths and businesses pilot innovative enterprising ideas on delivering their services.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Uganda Rosa Malango says a UN social-economic analysis of the COVID-19 impact in Uganda indicates that 60 percent of informal enterprises have stopped their operations or moved below the poverty level denying income to between five to six million informal workers most of whom are youths.

She says the UNDP facility seeks to provide flexible funding mechanisms that will stimulate the faster recovery of micro, small and medium enterprises. Ultimately, it will create 20,000 new jobs for youths, ensure skiling of 50,000 youths to increase the entrepreneur success rate and create over 100,000 indirect jobs over time, she added.

Elsie Attafuah, the UNDP country coordinator says the facility has three components, an innovation challenge fund and growth accelerator where youths can pitch ideas and receive funding of USD 40,000  (147 Million Shillings ) in grant resources. Also, a fund for micro, small and medium enterprise.

The third component is the Youth entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem platform which Attafuah says will revitalize youth networks such as youth Saccos and youth connect such they can collectively identify and tackle systemic issues impeding the social economic empowerment of young people. This will include training and skilling.

Ann Juuko the Executive Director of Stanbic Bank says youths will get loans at a 14 percent rate, a percentage the president says is still high and should be lowered to the utmost 12 percent.

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