Govt urges private sector to employ more youth

State minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Sarah Mateke, addresses a press conference in Kampala on December 7, 2023. PHOTO/JOHNSON MAYAMBA

Government has urged the private sector to employ more youth to reduce the skyrocketing unemployment.

More than 75 per cent of Uganda’s 46million people comprises youth. While the general unemployment stands at 4.28 per cent, youth unemployment rate is at 6.58 percent.

“The government expects the private sector to provide the young people with more opportunities for employment, offering training and apprenticeship opportunities and promoting entrepreneurship development,”state minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Sarah Mateke said on Thursday.

“The international NGOs are expected to integrate youth concerns in their programming and mobilise resources for youth programmes and support youth entrepreneurship development,” added Mateke, who represented Vice President Jessica Alupo at the opening of the two-day GOAL Uganda Annual Learning Conference in Kampala.

GOAL, an international humanitarian and development agency focussed on building community resilience and support for socio-economic development, organised the conference under the theme “Transitioning more youth into work: Scalable interventions for expansion and sustaining youth employment in agribusiness.”

John Alinda, a youth from Hoima District, said while the minister has good suggestions, ensuring mind-set change among youth is important.

“They should help my fellow youth to not only look for jobs after graduation but to also apply the knowledge they got in school by creating jobs for themselves. This will be realised with access to friendly loans to enhance full participation of the youth in the economy, especially in agribusiness, which is the backbone of this country,” he suggested.   

Adrian Bukenya, the country director of Mastercard Foundation in Uganda, said they are partnering with GOAL to ensure that young people are skilled, embrace agribusiness to have access to dignified and fulfilling employment, and access to markets for their products.

Similarly, Abim District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Samuel Bigirwa Kaliisa said: “We must tap into the youth to embrace agriculture. This will not only reduce unemployment but also secure our future in food production.”

GOAL Uganda director Dawit Beyene noted that his organisation is committed to continue learning to better deliver to Ugandan youth through the Markets for Youth Programme to engage in agribusiness and profit from it.

He added that the programme has so far reached more than 260,000 young people since 2020- with services to support them transition into work and access markets.