Millennium Development Goal number one is “to eradicate extreme poverty and end hunger”. One target under this goal is full and productive employment for all, including women and youth.
The current supply of jobs in Uganda does not match the demand.
According to the World Bank, three in five of the unemployed in sub-Saharan Africa today are youth, and 72 per cent of the youth lives on less than $2 per day. This situation is now evident in our country where unemployment among the youth is clearly much higher than that of adults.
Much as I commend the government’s initiatives of promoting youth entrepreneurship such as training by Enterprise Uganda and promoting access to loans under the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, I feel that very little is being done to address the youth unemployment problem which to me is a ticking time bomb.
Unemployed youth can mistakenly feel they are unheard or that government is less concerned about their predicament.
In this state, they can easily be swayed to indulge in self-destructive activities such as crimes, armed conflicts, drugs and alcohol abuse. This situation is very bad in that it can turn Uganda to a breeding ground for wrong type of citizenry causing increased insecurity.
There is urgent need for planners and policy makers to come up with very bold, innovative, aggressive and holistic approaches as well as solutions to promoting youth employment before the unemployment problem runs out of hand.