Unemployment: Uganda’s Time Bomb

and geneva;”>dosage "sans-serif"; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-font-kerning: 18.0pt;”>This is analyzed in African Development Bank’s publication titled ‘Youth Unemployment and Political Instability in Selected Developing Countries.’

This report shows that in a given context, an exceptionally high youth unemployment rate makes African countries more prone to political instability.

The authors of this publication studied a sample of 24 developing countries from the period 1980 to 2010. They found that in Africa, youth unemployment is made worse by a large youth population, weak national labor markets and persistent poverty.

“African countries have some of the highest proportions of young people among its populations: on average 30 per cent are under the age of 30,” it states.

Although the continent has shown economic growth, it has failed in creating the number of quality jobs needed to absorb the 10-12 million young people entering the labour market each year in Africa.

Uganda is no exception to the high levels of unemployment.

In a study carried out by Action Aid International Uganda (AAIU), Uganda National NGO Forum and Development Research and Training (DRT), 62 percent of Uganda’s youth are jobless.

Titled ‘Lost Opportunity,’ the study indicates that most youths who are unemployed are a threat to their communities and likely to become a source of instability if government doesn’t intervene to curb the situation.

This study was done in 11 districts including Kampala, Wakiso, Masindi, Mitooma, Katakwi, Luuka, Pader, Zombo, Nakasongola, Buvuma and Kotido.

It indicates that idle youths especially in the city and urban areas tend to be a problem to country’s security since most of them are engaged in drug use and alcoholism.

“61.6 percent of the respondents in the study were not in any form of employment, majority of whom were in urban centers,” reveals the report.

World Bank statistics (2012) indicate that Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world at 83 percent and yet it also has the highest youth unemployment rates.

About 12 percent of all youth in Uganda aged between 12-30 are chronically poor with higher poverty rates among 12-17 years olds as compared to the 18-30 years old.

Uganda produces 400,000 graduates from universities and all tertiary institutions but jobs created annually are about 90,000 creating a job deficit of 310,000 annually.

Chimpreports interviewed different people including politicians and authorities on whether they think high youth unemployment has opened doors to political instability in the country.

Some expressed that although the youth may sometimes tend to be a threat to security, they have been advocates for change in the country.


Ingrid Turinawe, a political activist says in Uganda, the contemporary world and during the days of slavery, the youths play the biggest role in political struggle.

“Look at the NRM bush war; it was the youth behind nearly everything. Considering the fact that youths today have been neglected by government, they have reached a point where they can’t take anymore,” she said.

Turinawe assured Chimpreports that the youth have been the leaders of the political activities.

Mathias Mpuuga, Chairman Activists for Change (A4C) says the youth have been the major support of the group.

“It’s not only the poor and uneducated, but the learned one from universities and higher institutions of learning.”

The former president for Forum for Democratic Change, Dr. Col Kizza Besigye says he his struggle for change, the youth have immensely evolved overtime.

“We no longer need to labor to explain to the youths that there is a crisis in this country. That phase is over now. They blend easily in our activities than ever before,” he said.

Besigye said the only question the youth ask every time they join them is, “We have seen everything; we have been pushed to the wall; what should we do next?”

However, some security authorities say although there might be some tendencies of insecurity in the country, disturbances from activist groups like 4GC and DP factions, it doesn’t mean there is political instability caused by idle youths.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Ibin Ssenkumbi says, “People should note that there’s no political instability in Uganda. We acknowledge that there’s high rate of youth unemployment but these have nothing to do with the ongoing political riots common now in the country,” he said


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