KAMPALA – Private Sector Foundation in partnership with UN Women have on Monday, May 4 hosted the first E-conference on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Ugandan economy.
The two days’ conference was conducted using the online meeting tool, the Zoom and broadcasted live on NBS TV. The conference was conducted under the theme, “Inclusive Economic Stimulus Strategy, Opportunities and Linkages”. The conference attracted over 10,000 business owners and senior managers’ politicians, civil servants, civil society/religious leaders.
The conference came as a response of the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic that has taken a heavy toll on global economies. In less than 6 months, there has been unprecedented contraction in economic activities, global deterioration of financial conditions, suspension of transportation, nose-diving of stocks, crumbling of health systems, loss of jobs especially for young people and women, cancellation/postponement of major events, and so many other far-reaching consequences on humanity and economies.
According to UN Women Country Representative Dr. Maxime Houinato, “COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a serious threat on the socio-economic development of Uganda. The spike in unemployment rate especially for young people and women makes planning for the post COVID-19 era very important.”
Dr. Houinato noted that Women are often engaged in low-paying, informal work and businesses and as primary breadwinners for their families, disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 response will compromise their ability to meet their families’ needs.
The Executive Director Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU), Gideon Badagawa said the conference discussion focused on import substitution, economic stimulus proposals, opportunities, especially for the young people and women; and linkages to drive Uganda’s economic self-sustainability. “If we don’t move quickly to strengthen systems and resilience of businesses, the development gains of recent years can easily be lost.”
He added that, while the pandemic’s economic effects are far reaching, “This crisis provides an opportunity to strengthen industrialization through transition from relying on the extraction and sale of raw materials into building up local industries that utilize local resources and turn them into value-added products for export.
The conference updated the business community on the interventions proposed to Government, examined the extent to which COVID 19 pandemic and its measures have affected various businesses by size, sector and geographical area, as well as solicited sector input on the possible measures and opportunities available to mitigate these challenges in the short, medium and long term. The conference also documented strategies for systematic response and engagement in line with global Women Empowerment Principles (WEP) amongst PSFU members.