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Arresting Youth Unemployment: Why ICT Is a Viable Solution

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innovators working on a project

By Darius Bahikire

Despite government’s efforts at creating employment through operation wealth creation, the country is still battling with a high youth unemployment rate.

Many youths have recently opted to invest their energies into ‘sports betting’ and many other forms of gambling.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), the age category 20 to 24 has 65% jobless implying that those 11.8 million youths, most of them straight from university and other tertiary institutions have a problem getting employment.

For those 25 years and above, the situation is worse, with over 90% of them unemployed. Uganda has one of the youngest and fastest growing population rates in the world with its fertility rate of 3% one of the highest in Sub Saharan Africa.

Kenya recently created Enterprise Kenya, a body that will support Kenyan ICT innovations to become big global entities.

They also have the Presidential Digital Talent programme aiming at training the youth in ICT.

On its move to be the top Africa’s ICT hub, Rwanda established a $100 million (Shs339 billion) Fund to address funding challenges by Rwandan technology entrepreneurs.

The Rwandan government will contribute $30 million (Shs101.7 billion) and they will mobilize the rest from the private sector. This Fund will help Rwanda with competitiveness to become a global player.

Uganda government has not been left in the trenches .On August 30 and September 1, 2016,   President Museveni wrote a directive for a fund to be created for ICT innovation.

“In 2017/18, we have $5m (Shs15b) in the budget. Working together with UPDF engineering brigade, we shall build an innovation hub at the Uganda Information and Technology Institute, Nakawa”, said Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Information Technology and Communications (ICT).

He said “the innovation hub will offer free working space to innovators, computers and free Wi-Fi. The innovation hub forms part of the broader digital strategy being drafted by the Ministry of ICT.”

It should be remembered that recently; the Minister of ICT and his State Minister Hon. Aidah Nantaba, Permanent Secretary, and UCC Executive Director Eng. Godfrey .Mutabaazi and representatives from the UPDF engineering brigade were seen inspecting the site for the hub.

“We are here to do site inspection and soon ware to officially hold a ground breaking ceremony for the hub” Said Tumwebaze while at the site.

Ugandan youths therefore should prepare with optimism to exploit this opportunity since this will barely have any associated risks and a bothering and huge capital as startup fund.

Some of the promising innovations are Tambula, which offers vehicle, fleet, asset and personal tracking and Safeboda offers a safer boda boda experience by providing an app that you can use to summon trained drivers to your location.

Clinic Master is an integrated healthcare information management and medical billing software. It automates patients’ transactions in the clinic on a visit basis.

However, appropriate and timely awareness, education and/or sensitization on the most fitting implementation modus will make this venture the most successful of all ever prevailing government programmes.

Darius Bahikire is a concerned Citizen, Passionate about ICT

 

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