KAMPALA. Government and the United Nations have launched an innovation programme that they think will curb youth unemployment in Uganda.
Dubbed the “YouthConnekt,” the programme will train young people in creative skills and innovations and is also expected to benefit 100,000 youth.
Ms Rosa Malango, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative, said the proposed YouthConnekt Uganda scale up model, will aim to connect youth to their role models, peers, resources, skills, economic opportunities and build on already ongoing innovations in the country.
“Our hope is that ideas such as these will give youth space to create novel innovations that will enable them to contribute to reducing the youth unemployment challenge in the country today,” Ms Malango said at the launch of the programme in Kampala last Friday.
In April, Cabinet drafted a new $246,227,260 (Shs887b) National Action Plan to address the problem of youth unemployment in the country that is affecting 87 per cent of graduates.
In the past two decades, government’s attempts to address youth unemployment has been through generic development policies and schemes such as the Poverty Alleviation Programme, the Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture and the National Youth Livelihood Programme.
However, all these programmes have not delivered the desired results, and many youth are yearning for employment.
Mr Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Gender, said the initiative is a step in the right direction in equipping the youth with creative skills since unemployment is exacerbated by the lack of information.
“We strongly believe in the power of learning and peer networking. We shall, therefore, ensure that the programme enriches the youth with a lot of information,” Mr Bigirimana said.
With a population of 34.6 million people, where young people (18 to 30 years) account for about 23 per cent, Uganda is one of the countries with the youngest dependent population in Africa after Niger.
Formerly implemented in neighbouring Rwanda, the initiative facilitated by UNDP and International Labour Organisation Organisation will be implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in partnership with other key stakeholders, including the private sector.
According to a 2014 report authored by the Finance, Planning and Economic Development Ministry, titled Uganda’s employment challenge: An evaluation of government’s strategy, 700,000 individuals enter the labour market every year and there will be twice as many individuals by 2040.