Several articles have been written about the youth unemployment problem in Uganda. Even more articles are written with potential solutions to it. The solutions range from government policy changes to promoting youth entrepreneurship to pushing for more investment in the country. If you’re new to this issue, here is a brief breakdown.
78% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30years. With a life expectancy averaged 59, and yet the retirement age is at 65 (for most private organisations), statistically there are literally more chances of jobs opening up due to death than there are due to retirement.
Already the chances of getting a job because someone has retired are slim, the Labour statistics indicate that there are more youth below the ages of 35 employed than there are older people. This is coupled with the fact that according to Enterprise Uganda 500,000 people are expected to enter the labour market every year vis a’ vis the 9000 jobs that are created.
To show the severity of the matter, in July 2017, the New Vision run an article in which they stated that a record 10,000 people turned up for 27 job slots that had been advertised by Parliament. Of these only 4,000 were shortlisted. In short; there are more people than jobs available.
There are plenty of statistics if you lookout for them especially online. On the face they are boring numbers but beneath, they are actually a wealth of insights on this issue.
You see unemployment simply means that there are no jobs. Jobs are basically tasks that one can engage in to create value that can be paid for.
Question: Is it really true that there are no tasks in Uganda for us youth to engage in in return for money?
I often sit with my friends and talk about possibilities of things that we could do. DREAMS and VISIONS arising from the inexperienced point of view of the young people that we are. You see, youth have one unique ability that human beings lose with age and experience. The ability to see opportunities in our economy. In fact our final year proposals in university, our aspirations when we write our first CV in life, the various ambitious poorly thought through proposals that get shot down or ignored in company email systems, and millions more of ideas that never get acted on are all evidence that there are things that equal to tasks that could create value uniquely for Uganda.
So again I ask; is it that there are no jobs for us or is it that our opportunities have not been structured into jobs in this economy?
Is it possible that when they say become a entrepreneur or create your own opportunities they mean that we need to however painfully find ways to make these tasks into jobs by ourselves?
But then again, we do not have resources to commit to these tasks. So how do we take our ideas and make them into jobs rather than do what most of us end up doing? You see, most of us end up settling for basic jobs that are available because created opportunities are so few and frankly speaking we have the pressure on us to contribute to big families and younger siblings who are still in school and etc. We have the pressures of youth. We want to be fly and drive around early like our better placed friends and then we also have the bad luck of being millennials.
A key characteristic of millennials and centennials is our sense of entitlement. It’s not easy settling for a clerk’s job while being more qualified. To endure the denial required to build something of your own is a unique characteristic that many Uganda youth lack. It’s a characteristics that successful Ugandan youth have discovered though.
Simple really; there is a lack of structured jobs for you to do. There is also plenty of tasks waiting to be done that you could be paid for that are not structured. It seems that you, fellow young person need to find things that are needed so that you can do them and start getting paid.
WORK DONE = WORK to BE PAID FOR.
That is what the economy is made up of. If opportunity is not being given to you, identify it, research solutions and go take the opportunity by ‘force!’