Terrorism And It’s Impact On East Africa

By Rogers M. Wanambwa

Recently, Kenya was once again hit by a terrorist attack where a group of armed men attacked the DusitD2 hotel and complex on January 15th this very year; the attack claiming the lives of 21 people so far. This is not the first nor second attack Kenya has experienced by the hands of these militant Islamist who go by the name of Al-Shabaab because they also bombed the West Gate mall in Nairobi in 2012 were over 70 died.

So one may ask what is Terrorism?

Terrorism according to Title 22 Chapter 38 U.S. Code § 2656f is defined as premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents. From this definition we can see that as Ugandans and East Africans at large we’re facing a humongous problem that needs urgent solutions and no the current ones see not to be working, at least not very efficiently or effectively as we would like. It is imperative that we find lasting solutions but before we get to these, let us first look at the impact of terrorism in Uganda and East Africa.

First of all, we need to know that this kind of negative publicity apart from the loss of the lives of young people that had a lot of potential in them, we’re losing and are going to continue losing billions of dollars in revenue from tourism since tourism always shies away from unstable countries especially countries flagged as terrorism prone. According to the World Bank, East Africa earned more than $3billion from tourism alone last year and it also employs more than 200,000 people directly in Uganda alone.

In Uganda, tourism earned us the most last year(2018), around $1.4billion to be exact, Kenya earned $1.55billion. An example of how bad publicity from such happenings affects the economy is from Mr. Amos Wekesa’s(CEO of Great Lakes Safaris) own publication last year after the riots of Bobi Wine’s people. He said that the company lost around Ugshs900million as people cancelled their trips and bookings. This is just one company’s losses. How much we’re going to lose because of the DusitD2 incident can only be imagined.

Apart from foreign currency that is lost, we have to look at the disruption of daily business in the East African countries. An example is the slow movement of transit vehicles at the border of Kenya and Uganda due to the heavy and tedious checking of each vehicle enroute from Kenya into Uganda that started immediately after the DustitD2 bombing.

Investors too are scared away by such incidents because money always runs away from conflict to those areas that are safe. It is after all volatile in itself. Since the early 2000’s, the East Africa community(at least the original East Africa, that is, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania) has had a relatively peaceful environment that seen many foreign investors flocking here and hence our economies have seen an upward rise for all these years. This will not stay the case if such impediments and orchestrated killings continue unabated and there are no suspects that are apprehended, tried and charged. It is sad that the two Kenyan men who were arrested on charges of the 2010 bombing in Uganda were released last year according to the Monitor and were to be deported. Our security organizations should show more agility in hunting down these criminals and justice be served.
As it is, no one would like to do business in a war prone area.

Hence, even the locals themselves will not work or invest in the region and this will lead to further loss of revenue in form of taxes, not to say the number of jobs that will be lost. It should be noted that over 70% of Ugandans for example are occupied by subsistence farming according to the Ministry of Agriculture. This can only be solved by investment and investment can be done in a peaceful atmosphere, well mostly anyway.

In my humble opinion, we should counter all this negative publicity that comes with all these atrocities with a lot of good publicity out in there in the world. Uganda, for example hired two PR firms which in the past year alone had seen to an increase of up to 50,000 more tourists visiting Uganda, according to the Ministry of Tourism statistics. Kenya, on the hand has over 10 PR firms, not to say that it has an estimated budget of over $700million for advertising itself in other countries, Uganda doesn’t even have 10% of this, or put better, doesn’t accord its resources to this even though the difference in earnings was $15million on Kenya’s side last year. This goes to say, if Uganda out as much in to promotion of tourism as Kenya does, the results would be even better than the $1.4billion we got last year.

Terrorism has become a global phenomenon that can’t be ignored and hence East Africa should devise better ways of tackling this. This is not to say that the respective governments, have not done anything, but more should done.

Specialized Incompetence

By Wanambwa M. Rogers

While talking to our caretaker where I stay in Kansanga, we got talking about education and its impact on the average Ugandan especially via skilling them for taking on the world’s dynamic job market. It actually reminded me of a thesis presentation I attended of Ms. Mariam Basajja entitled “Digital Health And Development In Data Science In Uganda” where it was said that a study by Mckinsey Global Institute stated that a shortage of about 190,000 data scientists and 1.5million managers. Oh by the way, Ms. Mariam Basajja is working on a Findable Applicable Interoperable and Reusable(FAIR) system, the first of its kind in Uganda and I daresay Africa for her PhD.

You see, our care taker actually stopped in primary seven and he says he was blessed to have gotten the opportunity to go to a skilling technical school where he got to learn how to build. Currently, he is trying to acquire the funds to go back and learn motor mechanical skills at a garage. The most important thing is that he actually has a job that pays him Ugshs10,000-15000. And this is just the beginning for him considering mechanics are a very important aspect of the business world. I’m sure with time, his pay will increase. Of course given the fact that he is now learning how to repair and work with motor mechanics, his chances will grow exponentially seeing that he will even be able to afford to fly abroad and get considerable sums of money which he can then return here and use to start workshops among other businesses. These are some of his ideas that he told me in our conversation.

Now all this led to thinking about the university graduates that are being churned out bi-annually and annually with diplomas and degrees that cannot really be turned into employment. Worse still, even employers are finding us graduates to be more and more unemployable.
Basically, we’re specializing in incompetence. Consider a Bachelor in Business Administration(BBA) graduate who majored(specialized) in Accounting and Finance. Said graduate can’t actually advise any company in Finance, that is he isn’t a Finance Analyst, they can’t work with any Accounting software because they didn’t get enough practice as it is; and hence they can’t be employed in modern firms or companies as Accountants. They’re afraid of going to market and hence won’t go be Sales men, considering the pay sometimes is even small. They can’t develop business as they have never worked in or owned businesses so their knowledge there is limited or nonexistent. Among other areas.
I have used the case of a BBA student because they’re essentially trained to become all rounders, that is to say, they can work in any field of business. This I know because I am one.

My thoughts here are really that we are passing through the education system and are being churned after decades of study with virtually nothing in our heads as practical skills for our survival and hence the rampant unemployment levels and sky high levels of poverty. It is as if it is deliberately so considering that the debate to change the education system seems to be going on forever but no action is being taken.

Worried for our generation’s time!

How a KIU student has impacted other girls through the Presidential Initiative On Skilling The Girl Child

By Wanambwa M. Rogers

Aisha Naggayi is a 23year old student at Kampala International University(KIU) pursuing a Bachelor in Business Administration majoring in Accounting and Finance and she’s in first year second semester. I met her recently at the KIU main campus in Kansanga and we got talking, mostly about her time at the Presidential Initiative On Skilling The Girl Child(henceforth called the Presidential Initiative) since she was putting on a uniform from there at the time(this is what caught my attention in the first place).

So I got to ask her whether I could write about her story and she accepted whence we arranged a meeting to conduct a proper interview after her modular, which we managed to hold. This is where we got talking about all sorts of things relating to her life and the Presidential Initiative and how it has impacted her life and the lives of thousands of other young girls and women.

She told me that she first heard about the Presidential Initiative from a friend’s mother when she was going through a really rough time in her life. The friend’s mother suggested that instead of sitting at home and despairing, she should go and join it; which she eventually joined from their branch at Nakulabye at Our Lady of Fatma Church(yes, Fatma) in 2017. They offer courses like tailoring, knitting, weaving, baking and confectionaries which each take six months and after on, graduates are given one(1) million shillings and a machine to start with after passing their end of semester examinations.

For example, Aisha received the money plus a tailoring machine because she pursued a tailoring course. And this is done for each girl at free of charge. Another plus is that the girls are given free lunch and a bottle of water every day of study.

Through the Presidential Initiative, Aisha got the tenacity to hope again; it literally changed her life for the better. She told me something that intrigued me that she had to quit a newly found job in order to keep pursuing her studies there! Now this takes emotional maturity and the ability to make hard decisions.

It is at the Presidential Initiative that Aisha got to model for the President too. This all begun when the project manager, Ms. Faridah Mayanja saw her and gave her the opportunity to model for Black Creations 2018, a company that partnered with the project at that time. This particular opportunity would see her model for the president of Uganda at Kololo airstrip later in the year. A moment of pride for her.

Now, after she finished the course, with the help of her good grades and good conduct, there was an opportunity availed to her by the manager to train other fellow young girls. They would incidentally take another six months before officially graduating in October last year.

However, for her, she had to go through another six month internship program where you have to redo the whole curriculum and master it as you tutor other girls under supervision by the superiors. You’re given an allowance, which comes in handy every month. After the six months, she was retained as a full time Junior Instructor. This means that by their graduation day, she was working already working full time(very thrifty of her).

So from when she started working there, she has been teaching a class of about 50 students who are yet to graduate. The whole class is of 250 students that are put in groups of 50 per class. Through the Presidential Initiative, she has got skills and a job too. And through this work, she has got to learn about the life and plight of many young women, and impact them positively, by skilling them and giving them hope which was otherwise out of their lives. It also gives them a sense of community and being catered for and loved, thanks to His Excellency YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI the president of the republic of Uganda, Madam Lucy Nakyobe and Hon. Hillary Kisanja, she said.

Another thing she got from there is that she got to continue with her studies whereby she got to be admitted at Kampala International University as earlier said. This she uses to inspire the young girls at the Initiative which has different branches in Nakulabye, Mutundwe, Ntinda-Kigo among others where they are rotated as they teach and skill the young girls. Last year in October, over 4000 girls got to graduate in the different courses offered.

Although the Presidential Initiative is intended to skill and help young girls(initially, it was intended for the illiterate and semi-illiterate girls but later it was extended to all girls), some lugubrious people intend to use the girls to receive the money and equipment, Aisha intimated to me. So in order to fight that, they’re given to the girls themselves and no one else.
Also, the President started up the Uganda Empowered Young Women SACCO which lends the girls at a low interest of only 3%(only those that have passed through the Initiative). The SACCO can also be used to save the girls money until they have sorted themselves out so that they can use their money well. This helps to rule out malicious people that would have taken the money from the girls.

As we were concluding Aisha told me that she always tells the girls that don’t forget where you come from and don’t lose focus. Words I found very inspiring considering she has used them in her life too. As it also puts to life the president’s dream of decreasing importation of foreign products and supporting the Buy Uganda Build Uganda theme.

Incidentally, it brings out the name of the project, Presidential Initiative On Skilling The Girl Child.

Why More Youths Should Start Companies

By Wanambwa M. Rogers

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics(UBOS), the employment rate in Uganda decreased to 47.80% in 2012 and this has seen a downward spiral to date. Just last month, Makerere University held it’s 69th graduation that saw over 13,000 students graduate not including all the other universities and higher learning institutions that had their graduations at the end of last year including KIU that had 4000 of theirs graduate in November and other institutions still underway. Again, according to UBOS, almost 60,000 graduates flood the job market annually although only 8,000 jobs are available. Putting all this into consideration, the challenge of unemployment hinges in.
In order to combat this challenge, I am of the opinion that starting up new companies is the way to go. Let me explain why.

Consider the UK, according to business statistics from the Parliament of the UK, they’ve about 5.7 million SMEs(companies that employ around 1-200 people). Now an average 20 people multiplied by 5.7million is about 114million people. This means that these companies actually have to outsource employees since the UK has about 66million people according to World Bank statistics. These companies do all sorts of service delivery and production bringing a lot of revenue for their home country and ultimately, the global economy. The US on the hand has over 30million SMEs.

In Uganda, there were only 20800 registered companies by 2012 according to UBOS. This is very meagre considering Uganda has about 45million people as of September 2018 and a fertility rate of 5.8 according to World Bank and this where I believe we need to remedy this. I am of the opinion that with over 75% of the young population having passed through school, at least to some level, we have a population that has the basic skills required in literacy and numeracy(basically reading, writing, and counting). These skills are enough for a group of young brilliant minds to start a company.
If we go into a little statistics here on how starting companies would impact Uganda, let’s say 10000 companies where started this year alone, each employing 100 people who are also shareholders in the company, that would be a million people off the streets(by people I mean youths mostly). If this kind of starts-ups continue at that rate of expansion(10000 companies per year, each employing the same number of people), we would be outsourcing employees in ten years. Basically, this means that in the next ten years, by 2029, we would at full employment. Now how about that? Of course, this is hypothetical.

So what is a company and how does one register it?

First of all, a company is a legal entity made up of an association of people, be they natural, legal, or a mixture of both, for carrying out commercial or industrial enterprise for profit(dividends). In order to start a company in Uganda, you’ve to search for a business name which cists around Ugshs2000, and then reserve it at Ugshs20000. Then, you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Incorporation, Investment License and a Taxpayer Identification Number(TIN), all of which are free. After that, you’ll need to register with National Social Security Fund(NSSF) which costs between Ugshs70000-500000 according to which type of business you’re starting. Lastly, you’ll need to make a company seal and this will cost you up to Ugshs225000. With that you’ve a registered company. The information here can be found on the Uganda Registration Services Bureau(URSB) site or with the Registrar of Companies. URSB is under the Uganda Registration Services Bureau Act Cap 210 mandated/ responsible for registration of public and private companies in Uganda.

Now one may wonder why it is important to open up a company when they can as well do business without ever being a registered company, well, let’s just say that having one, gives you a profound deal of advantages not to seriously consider it.

For example, given the nature of a company, it is a separate entity from its owners, meaning that it is a person of its own. Essentially, it can be sued, or it itself can sue others and this doesn’t necessarily involve the owners. How this is important is that when the companies goes under, the owners’ property cannot be attached to the company to pay the losses made.

Again, when one opens a company, they can easily get funding from several institutions or individuals if their company has a sound proposal and business ideas. Investors love putting their money in companies and not investing in an individual as such. This is because individuals can disappear with their capital whereas it is rather hard for a company to just vanish, among other reasons.

Another advantage of starting a company is that with pulling resources from all the shareholders, it becomes possible for them collectively to begin a business that would otherwise have been impossible to do so individually.
It also helps in creating a lot of jobs. With time, as the companies grow, so does there demand for employees. With the calculations earlier given, even full employment in Uganda can be achieved if this is done right and with the right supervision from government and nurturing from the old timers.

Having companies in the country also helps the government to track taxpayers and hence collect more revenue through this. As it is, most taxes are collected from a small number of operating companies in Uganda like MTN, private banks like Stanbic Bank among other companies.

A lot of our raw materials are exported in their raw form, with start-ups, this can be remedied as all these companies, and especially the production companies would need them. Considering Uganda is an agricultural nation, agro-based companies would help provide farmers with market and a whole chain of production would be created here. All these and other advantages like the fact that companies survive even after the death of the founders give a glimpse of what can be achieved with starting companies.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the government of Uganda has made it even simpler to register a company as this can all be done at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau(URSB) and at a generally low fee, around Ugshs1million, one can register a company. So what are you waiting for?

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