Education System, Poor Economic Policies Hampering Inclusive Economic Growth – Experts

Patrick Mweheire the CEO Stanbic Bank Uganda (L) and Silver Kayondo (R) a Law student at Pretoria University (S.Africa) during a panel discussion on Friday's LeO Africa Economic Forum at Kampala Serena Hotel

Uganda needs rethink its education system and economic policies in order to enhance inclusive economic growth, here experts say.

Amid the emerging changes in global trends, ailment Uganda has maintained its learning curriculum inherited from the colonial times instead of adopting skill based orientation. As a result, majority of the 400,000 graduates that complete university each year do not possess the skills required in the job market.

During this year’s LeO Africa Economic Forum held at Kampala Serena Hotel on Friday, Patrick Mweheire the CEO Stanbic Bank Uganda said that government needs to focus more on the vocational training since the blue collar jobs are the major drivers of the economy.

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“There’s a mismatch in what the market wants and the kind of skills our education system is giving. People who drive any country’s economy are those in the blue collar jobs not the corporate.”

It is estimated that 83% of Uganda’s youth (age 16 to 30) are unemployed. Uganda ranks 9th in GDP growth in the Sub Saharan Africa region however in terms of GDP per capita, it is among the poor performers.

Mweheire also added that part of the problem is a growing informal sector which doesn’t pay taxes along with mismanagement of public resources by the public sector.

Enock Twinoburyo, an economist and Ph.D. Research Fellow at the University of South Africa argued that Uganda’s fertility rates are high but do not collate with productivity.

“There’s a growing dependency class that will not add to tax revenue. We also must address the primary factors of production such as land,” he said.

He pointed out that Uganda has a comparative advantage in the agriculture sector given its arable land but 45% of this land is un-utilized. “Land reforms are critical if we are to leverage on agriculture which employs most of our population.”

Economic development specialist, Hashim Mulangwa also rooted for a review in the education system as well as policies that will create more employment.

The forum organized by LeO Africa Institute and Konrad Adanauer Stiftug brought together economists, government officials, development partners, private sector players and representatives from NGOs among others.


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