Museveni made reference to his life journey and highlighted that at 14 years, he was already engaged in farming and gaining skills for commercial agriculture at a government ranch in western Uganda. Museveni was speaking from the State Lodge in Nakasero at a function to commemorate the International Youth Day.
The theme of this year’s International Youth Day, “Youth Engagement for Global Action," highlights how the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is strengthening national and multilateral institutions and processes.
But Museveni says Ugandan youth still have a way to go, first by acquiring skills and specialising - a basis for grabbing the opportunities in the various sectors of production. He also reiterated a call against land fragmentation that he says has crippled efforts for mass production in the country.
"Even the ancient Banyankole were more organized than our people today…Each one had a mwooga - traditionally you were either a cattle keeper or a crop person or blacksmith. If you were a blacksmith they know that that family they are blacksmiths. They don’t do other work and they concentrate on blacksmith. Other people grow food and bring it to them and then give them and exchange with blacksmith products. That is why I brought that word; omwooga which is a specialization - blacksmith or carpentry…But now you have someone here and he has nothing and is just there that is why we’re saying no belong to or target or belong to one of the activities. And if it is agriculture, we have advised you how to do it." Museveni said.
The United Nations resident coordinator in Uganda Rosa Malango says a UN social-economic analysis of the COVID-19 impact in Uganda, indicates that 60 per cent of informal enterprises have stopped their operations or moved below the poverty level denying income to between five to six million informal workers, most of whom are youths.
She says the UNDP facility seeks to provide flexible funding mechanisms that will stimulate the faster recovery of micro, small and medium enterprises. Ultimately, it will create 20,000 new jobs for youths, ensure skilling of 50,000 youths to increase the entrepreneur success rate and create over 100,000 indirect jobs over time, she added.
Elsie Attafuah, the UNDP country coordinator says the facility has three components, an innovation challenge fund and growth accelerator where youths can pitch ideas and receive funding of up to $40,000 (about Shs 147 million) in grant resources. Also, a fund for micro, small and medium enterprise.
The third component is the youth entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem platform which Attafuah says will revitalize youth networks such as youth Saccos and youth connect such they can collectively identify and tackle systemic issues impeding the social-economic empowerment of young people. This will include training and skilling.
Ann Juuko the executive director of Stanbic bank says youths will get loans at a 14 per cent rate, a percentage the president says is still high and should be lowered to utmost 12 per cent.