detail - Foundation Office Uganda
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The quest for decent employment presents a major development concern today. It would be unimaginable for a country to achieve inclusive growth and sustained peace without providing decent work opportunities for all. Having a candid conversation and generating new knowledge and ideas on employment, especially for the youth in africa is not only timely, it is also crucial considering the fact that in most africa countries, young people often have their labour as one of their most prized assets. In this regard, the opportunity for gainful work is the chance for them to earn a decent livelihood and contribute to their country’s growth process.
In Uganda like most of Sub Saharan africa, the recent history of positive growth did not carry with it increased employment opportunities - leading to what scholars have termed as “jobless growth.” This predicament is further exacerbated by the fact that every 1 percent GDP growth increase in Uganda generates only 400 jobs which is far much below the international standard of 10,000 jobs which should be created with a corresponding 1 percent GDP growth rate. Yet at a glance, Uganda’s unemployment statistics do not appear to be alarming – at least not according to government statistics which estimate the unemployment rate at only 9.4 percent. However, most of Uganda’s work opportunities are informal, precarious and poorly remunerated. Without a sound social protection system, many people find themselves having to take on jobs simply because going without a job is an alternative they cannot afford.
A key value in this report is that it attempts to reframe the employment discourse to focus on the prevailing issues of underemployment by covering questions of precarious work, poor pay and job opportunities that fall below the qualifications of workers. The analysis and statistics used challenge some of the narratives that have been for long held about Uganda’s unemployment as well as how and in what ways education and entrepreneurship can be relied upon as solutions to existing challenges.
While the question of decent employment is a matter for concern to all Ugandans, the country’s youth deserve special emphasis. With a population continuing to grow above 3 percent and 78 percent of it aged below 35, the high number of young people demands stronger development focus particularly with regard to employment opportunities. In this regard - and this report acknowledges - gainful employment has implications for fostering constructive political engagement as well as for social stability. Moreover, the major guiding strategy documents, from the Sustainable Development Goals to the agenda 2063 of the african Union and Uganda’s own National Development Plans, all put strong emphasis on decent employment as a key challenge.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung sees a contribution to decent employment promotion as a matter of promoting solidarity around the world and building confidence in the future - with the latter being the theme for KAS’ cooperation in 2017. This report raises questions of economic policy alongside existing opportunities through which the constraints to decent employment growth can be lifted. Beyond the statistics, there is always the need to understand that development depends on the nature of interactions and relationships between people as much as the process itself is about people. Therefore, our further conversations on this report with regard to employment policy, population growth, entrepreneurship, education, to mention but a few, will always have to emphasise the aspect of human interaction and improving the quality of human life.
You can download the whole report as pdf.
About this series
The series analyses developmental challenges in the political, social and economic sphere in Uganda. The editions examine hot topics of the daily political agenda and undertake a rigorous reality check. Reality Check is published in cooperation with Centre for Development Alternatives.