Op-Ed: Unemployed youths pose a threat worldwide and Uganda is no exception

By Muteguya Denis

Youth unemployment is a critical issue faced by many nations worldwide, and Uganda is no exception. With a significant portion of its population being under the age of 30, Uganda’s youth unemployment rate poses a serious challenge to its economic stability and growth. However, under the visionary leadership of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa, Uganda has undertaken various initiatives aimed at addressing this pressing issue.

Youth unemployment is more than just an economic issue; it is a social and political threat that can destabilize a nation. High unemployment rates among young people can lead to increased crime rates, social unrest, and political instability. Without access to gainful employment, young people are more likely to engage in criminal activities as a means of survival. Additionally, unemployed youth can become disillusioned with their government, leading to protests and a lack of trust in political institutions.

In Uganda, where the youth population is burgeoning, the stakes are particularly high. The country’s economy needs to grow rapidly and inclusively to absorb the influx of young job seekers. Failure to do so could result in a large, disaffected segment of the population, which could threaten the country’s stability and future growth.

Recognizing the potential threat posed by youth unemployment, President Museveni’s government has implemented several programs designed to provide education, skills, and employment opportunities for young people. The introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) has significantly increased access to education. These programs aim to equip the youth with the basic education necessary for further training and employment.

In addition to UPE and USE, the government has launched various skilling programs and provided sponsorships for students in higher learning institutions. These initiatives are part of a broader vision to create a society that is economically empowered and self-reliant. However, the increasing number of graduates has also led to a rise in job seekers, creating pressure on the limited available job opportunities.

To address this challenge, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government introduced several economic empowerment programs aimed at providing startup capital and low-interest loans to young entrepreneurs. Programs such as Emyooga, the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP), and the Parish Development Model (PDM) have been instrumental in enabling young people to start their own businesses.

Furthermore, the Office of the National Chairman (ONC) at Kyambogo, managed by SPA/PA Hajjat Hadijah Namyalo Uzeiye, has been actively distributing empowerment assortments to youth across various regions. These assortments include items like sewing machines, hair dryers, brick-making machines, and agricultural inputs. By providing these tools, the initiative enables youth to engage in money-generating activities, thereby improving their livelihoods and reducing unemployment.

The impact of these initiatives has been significant. Many young people who previously faced limited job prospects are now able to start their own businesses and contribute to the economy. This not only improves their personal financial situation but also stimulates local economies and creates further employment opportunities.

However, despite these positive developments, challenges remain. The demand for jobs continues to outstrip supply, and many young people still face barriers to accessing the resources and support they need to succeed. Ensuring that these programs reach all segments of the youth population, including those in rural and marginalized areas, is crucial for their long-term success.

In conclusion, youth unemployment is a multifaceted issue that requires a comprehensive and sustained effort to address. Uganda’s government, under President Museveni, has made significant strides in providing education, skills training, and economic opportunities for its young people.

While these efforts have yielded positive results, continued investment and innovation are needed to fully overcome the threat of youth unemployment. By empowering its youth, Uganda can harness their potential to drive economic growth and secure a stable and prosperous future for the nation.

The writer is a socio-economic commentator / denismuteguya@gmail.com

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