KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Uganda – Thomas Tayebwa has told the youths they cannot develop themselves unless they change their habit of overspending and poor saving culture.
Tasyebwa was on Friday speaking at Makerere University-hosted, United Nations Development Programme – UNDP-supported Youth and Innovation Expo 2023.
Under the theme, “Fostering Innovation for Uganda’s Transformational Development”, the two-day Expo is intended to showcase outstanding youth innovations and youth enterprise.
Through this exhibition, the university also hopes to create viable forward and backward linkages that will facilitate the creation of jobs and foster entrepreneurship by supporting access to an integrated mix of finance products, business management skills and market access to young women and men entrepreneurs and youth-owned MSMEs.
“The problem with most youths is overspending the small they have. You eat and when you are full, then you save – you can’t develop like that,” he said, adding, “Don’t think UNDP will keep giving you free money, they are only giving you seeds, you have to save from the little you have.”
Tayebwa noted that the government has brought a very conducive environment in which the youth can leverage and develop themselves.
“You can decide to join the group that complains [but remember] it’s only you who can make yourself successful.
He commended UNDP for supporting young people – which he said is one of the SDGs of financial inclusion.
Tayebwa revealed that 52.5% of the global population owns only 1.25% of the global wealth which is a disaster.
“These are the people who have been excluded from financial inclusion. These will own opinions resulting in chaos, distraction, and losing hope. So, thanks UNDP and Makerere. It’s now time for the government to come out and give a hand, you helped us to start the journey, we must complete it ourselves.”
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe – Vice Chancellor, Makerere University noted that the majority of the country’s population are the youth which calls for carving into their energies to move the country forward positively.
“Makerere University has resolved to be a leader in research and innovations because we realize that we must empower these youths to create jobs for themselves and for other people who are less disadvantaged than them.”
“At Makerere University, we believe that the jobs that are going to move our country will come from our youth themselves. We may have investors, but definitely, the majority of the jobs will be created by these youths,” he added.
Prof. Nawangwe accepts that the country has very enterprising youths who if helped will move the country forward.
He commended UNDP for the partnership.
UNDP Uganda, Resident Representative, Ms. Elsie Attafuah underscored the importance of innovation especially in a world of uncertainties – climate crisis, COVID and other things.
“What COVID taught us, it opened our eyes to innovation, and I think some of the best innovations we’ve seen came out during Covid. We must ensure that we are building resilience to crises and shocks as we move forward.”
She also noted there is much need for innovation because of unevenness in development progress.
“We signed up the 2030 agenda, where we’ve said that we are going to reduce poverty inequality together to make sure that there are many things that will happen but that hasn’t happened.”
Ms. Attafuah reported that only 12% of the sustainable development goals are on track and 30% of them are retrogressive. She added that in the case of Uganda, only 26% of sustainable development goals are on track, 54% are slowing and 20% are deteriorating.
“Now, by extension of our national development plan at mid-term, we only managed to address 70% of the targets. It’s telling us that in the midst of an evenness in development progress, we must redouble our efforts, we must invest in innovations and solutions that will help us to progress as a country.”
Speaking of unemployment in Uganda, she revealed that one in three young persons doesn’t have a job between the ages of 15 and 35.
“We must create job opportunities for our young people. We can no longer be exporting our impoverished people to the world.”
Mrs. Lorna Magara – The Chairperson of the Council commended the partners for great strides in nurturing innovation, creating jobs, and fostering entrepreneurship.
She noted that without innovations, the myriad of challenges the university and the country face can easily wipe out all the gains they have made to date.
Magara says that there is a need for immediate action to mitigate the effects of this alarming prediction including the capacity to provide the infrastructure and education systems necessary to harness economic growth potential fully.
She re-echoed the university’s commitment to creating think tanks and gradually increasing engagement with industry, business, and other research users, developing a framework for packaging and marketing research outputs for appropriate adoption and adaptation, and using new products and technologies to influence policy and address emerging social needs positively.
H.E. Massimiliano Mazzanti – Ambassador of Italy to Uganda noted that one of the main problems faced by startups is access to credit which the governments must address if they are to fight unemployment and dependence burdens.
“Innovations are everything, they can actually balance the mismatch disproportion between youth and what the job market offers in Uganda.”
He revealed that Italy is one of the richest countries in the world because of startups and small, and medium enterprises.
He tipped the young people to have a positive mindset and start thinking about using the available resources to make their startups grow but also avoid living a luxurious lifestyle.
“Just to make a very quick example, when the young boys of Google created Google, they didn’t change their lifestyle. They didn’t buy fantastic cars or big apartments, they stayed exactly where they were. They were re-investing every day, every single resource in the business.”