Uganda’s National Youth Policy and Job Creation for Youth

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Uganda’s Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) and the consequent Youth Livelihood Fund (YLF) are government programmes established under the National Youth Policy (NYP), designed to support young people to find employment by extending grants and other support to small groups of young entrepreneurs, to help them to start small businesses and thus create employment for other young jobseekers. Drawing on a study involving 177 rural and urban youths, this article discusses the design and implementation of the YLP. It argues that the NYP has fallen short in several respects. In addition to funding, employment generation requires additional support for youth in a range of areas, including awareness-raising about employment opportunities, enhancing vocational and entrepreneurial skills, and providing advice and guidance on starting up small businesses.

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... Africa have delineated the lack of formal wage employment and decent employment opportunities as the push factors that have pushed the youth into self-employment in countries like Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe (Gukurume, 2018;Makumbi, 2018;Muchira, 2018). However, some of the youths are attracted to self-employment due to pull factors such as interest in entrepreneurship and the desire to work as independent workers. ...
... Agriculture is still a major employer in Uganda and other developing countries (Awiti, 2016;Makumbi, 2018) yet the youth prefer non-agricultural self-employment. The youth describe poor returns on agricultural investments as one of the major factors that discourages them from investing and focusing as agricultural self-employment despite agriculture being a major employer in the country. ...
... The youth describe poor returns on agricultural investments as one of the major factors that discourages them from investing and focusing as agricultural self-employment despite agriculture being a major employer in the country. The Ugandan government has adopted a number of policies and initiatives to address youth unemployment in the country; the government designed the national youth policy in 2001 whose focus was on agriculture as one of the means to promote youth employment (Gemma et al., 2014;Makumbi, 2018). However, the youth express disappointment because the government of Uganda prioritised agriculture in the fight against youth unemployment, yet the youth are attracted to non-agricultural sectors of employment. ...
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Sub-Saharan Africa is currently experiencing a youth bulge that is expected to continue growing for a few decades. Uganda, one of the countries with the highest youth population uses an approach that emphasises education and skills development (human capital approach) alongside promoting self-employment and youth entrepreneurship in response to the labour market and employment challenges experienced by the youth. In Uganda, vocational education and training (VET), youth entrepreneurship funds, job search assistance and career guidance address unemployment and the lack of required labour market skills. However, this approach emphasises education and skills, yet the youth are treated as a homogenous cohort; hence, the risk of exclusion of some of the youth arises. The capability approach (CA) to the youth-oriented active labour market policies (ALMPs) is broader and holistic as it considers unobserved heterogeneity, capabilities and the functionings of the youth. Therefore, this study attempted to use and apply the CA to youth-oriented active labour markets for inclusive policy design and social integration. The core argument of the study is that social policy is a means to inclusive development and social integration. Through the qualitative research method, data were collected using focus group discussions and follow-up semi-structured interviews with the youth in Arua city/district in Uganda. The youth were subdivided into eight subgroups which include youth in non-standard formal employment, self-employed youth, youth in rural employment, online workers, youth in general education, youth in vocational education and training (VET), NEET (not in employment, education, or training) and Refugee youth. A total of 8 participants participated in each of the eight (08) focus groups; follow-up individual interviews consisted of 2 participants from each of the subgroups. Research findings reveal that the high level of informality of the economy and the labour market shape the nature of labour market transitions, self-employment, work precarity and NEET. Youth entrepreneurship, the promotion of self-employment, VET, job search assistance and career guidance hardly consider the youth diversity and their voices/choices. Homogeneity, specialisation and aligning of the youth aspirations (voices/choices) with the labour market requirements are essential in expanding the functionings and capabilities of the youth for inclusive policy design and social integration. The study makes both theoretical and policy contributions. Theoretical contributions include the demonstration of how the CA can be applied to ALMPs in a highly informal labour market, proposing a framework for the application of the CA to youth labour market transition, the expansion of the active NEETs, and the notion that self-employment is a buffer against being NEETs and work instability. The policy contributions include expanding the refugee right to work policy, a call to establish labour market re-integration policies etc. Finally, the study concludes that the CA is practical and applicable in the formulation of inclusive labour market policies and understanding concepts like NEET, work precarity, self-employment and informality in the context of a developing country like Uganda.
... young people to find employment by extending grants and other support to small groups of young entrepreneurs to help them start small businesses and thus create employment for other young jobseekers (Ahaibwe and Kasirye, 2015;Makumbi, 2018). Generally, there is in place the presidential initiative for Skilling the youth in the entire country as a means of empowering the youth to acquire employable skills. ...
... The divergences appear to be explained by, inter alia, sample heterogeneity, methodological approaches, and, the nature of data. In the Ugandan context, for example, much of the scholarly work on the topic has indeed been limited to case studies without much national representation (e.g., Makumbi, 2018;Ahaibwe and Mbowa, 2014;Magelah and Ntambirweki-Karugonjo, 2014;Kamusiime, 2015;Pletscher, 2015), perhaps due to personal choice or data issues. We are therefore reluctant to generalize the findings therefrom to the wider Ugandan situation. ...
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Youth unemployment in Uganda increased from 12.7% in 2012/13 to 13.3 in 2016/17, despite a decline in the overall national unemployment rate from 11.1% to 9.2%. This poses serious development challenges, particularly to the ongoing efforts to poverty reduction. The main objective of the current study is to examine the extent to which gender, education, residence, and age determine youth unemployment in Uganda. Using recent data from the Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17 collected by the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics, we obtained a sample of 5,912 respondents for the ages between 18 years and 30 years. The main findings based on a binary logistic regression approach, reveal that education, gender, residence, and age are all critical in driving youth unemployment. The Ugandan youth who has some level of education is more likely to be unemployed compared to those with no education. But the youth that attended post-secondary education is associated with the highest unemployment probability followed by those with secondary school education and finally by primary education. While an increase in age appears to increase youth unemployment for females, the married youth have less chances of being unemployed compared to the unmarried youth. Moreover, as the probability of being unemployed reduces for the married youth, being divorced increases that probability. Similarly, the male youth are found more likely to be unemployed than their female counterparts. Additionally, the urban youth increased their chances of unemployment compared to the rural ones. Likewise, males are far more likely to remain in unemployment relative to females, just as living in the northern, eastern, or western region as a youth is less risky in terms of unemployment compared to living in the central region. On the other hand, whereas the education level of the household head is not important for youth unemployment, the marital status and gender of the household head are critical. The indirect effects of education, gender, residence, and age are clearly notable. Implications for policy and research are drawn.
... Extant literature indicates that several approaches and strategies have been adopted to mitigate graduate unemployment, including encouraging the jobless graduates to form entrepreneurial projects (Nakkazi, 2021), providing venture capital to these projects through government microfinance initiatives (Makumbi-Oola, 2018), and introducing skilling programmes that can equip unemployed graduates with either employable skills or with competences for selfemployment (Mukalele, Komugisha, & Martin, 2015). These approaches have, however, not solved the graduate unemployment problem. ...
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The article examines the possibility and challenges of redressing graduate unemployment through parent-employer collaboration that revolves around of remuneration of pre-service em-ployment. The paper used a qualitative research design involving a review of grey literature from published articles and reports on theories and challenges of global, regional and Uganda’s youth unemployment, particularly graduate unemployment and the strategies being applied to mitigate it. Paper findings show the potential for adopting the proposal, given the benefits it is likely to generate for parents, fresh graduates, employers and the government. The proposed arrangement equips fresh graduates with practical working experience which enhanc-es job prospects; employer obtains value added from fresh graduate services at lower cost, and an opportunity to recruit the graduate as a permanent employee; the parent enjoys reduced cost incurred on spending on endless search for jobs by students. Both the government and society benefit through lower social costs due to reduced time graduates spend unemployed as well as greater contribution realized from their work. Findings make significant contribution to knowledge and practice on alleviating graduate unemployment, through parent-employer col-laboration that generates benefits for parents, fresh graduates, employers and the government
... The indicated paradoxes are reflected in the youth policy of different countries. Programs are being developed and implemented around the world aimed at reducing inequality and increasing accessibility of education and work for youth (Makumbi, 2018;Speckesser, Carreras, & Sala, 2019;Tosun, Treib, & De Francesco, 2019;Vergnat, 2019). ...
Because of fast urbanization in developing countries, rural-urban youth migration has attracted several researchers to study this phenomenon. In the absence of an institutional formal framework or measures put in place to assist the rural youth migrants in their transition to urban livelihoods more so as self-employed workers in the new and challenging urban environment, this paper examines the role that social networks and social media play in enabling rural-urban migrant youth transition and integration into urban areas as self-employed workers. We used qualitative data collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews in Arua and Kampala, and we also conducted a focus group discussion in Arua city to complement the individual interviews. The research findings showed the continuous dependence of the youth migrants on social networks and social media in participation and belonging in the urban areas as self-employed workers. Our novel contribution to the literature on youth migrants and self-employment is that rural-urban youth migrants seeking self-employment mostly depend on social networks and social media in transition to the urban economy which necessitates a supportive framework by the government or city authorities for their transition and integration in the cities as self-employed workers.
Unemployment reduction is one of the grand challenges to achieve the sustainable development goals. More specifically, graduate youth unemployment is a rising concern for low and middle-income countries. Accordingly, government and policymakers seek to promote entrepreneurship to address the issue of unemployment through entrepreneurship education and training. Building on this notion, this chapter discusses STEP (student training for entrepreneurial promotion) as an action-oriented entrepreneurship training program. This chapter shows the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of STEP, how the impact of STEP unfolds over time, and the processes that happen during STEP. This chapter also covers cases where STEP has been extended to different academic settings, bringing systemic change in academic curriculums and for different target groups. Finally, this chapter discusses some common challenges when implementing STEP at partner institutions. The chapter concludes that STEP is an effective tool to tackle graduate youth unemployment in developing economies.
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Insufficient decent work in lower income countries is one of the most pressing global challenges facing young people today and is captured by SDG 8: decent work for all. Specific concerns include high levels of working poverty and informality, underemployment, and a lack of demand for youth labour. The vast majority of research into this subject focuses upon wealthier countries, and there is a need for greater engagement with young people’s experiences and aspirations. Here we draw upon an international survey in lower income countries, alongside focus groups and interviews in Uganda, to challenge dominant conceptual and empirical understandings. Though our sample is limited to a relatively privileged group, by accessing young people’s own perspectives on the employment challenge we contribute to an essential and ongoing disruption of the narrative that young people are the root of the youth employment problem. We do this by demonstrating that (1) unemployed young people tend to make positive social contributions, (2) while youth aspirations for work are tailored to their context they are nevertheless ambitious, and (3) lack of demand for youth labour needs to be directly addressed alongside the current focus on skills development. Our novel contribution to the literature on youth geographies is that young people in lower income countries tend to be dynamic and committed to contributing to their communities on a voluntary basis despite – and at times because of - the context in which they live limiting their chance of finding decent work.
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Background Little evidence exists on the livelihoods of young people with disabilities in low- and middle-income settings. Objective This study examined employability and livelihood outcomes among a cohort of youth with disabilities who participated in an economic empowerment programme in rural Uganda. Methods Prospective cohort of youth with disabilities participating in an economic empowerment programme in rural Uganda. Livelihood outcomes of participants were assessed through structured interviews at baseline (n = 297) and again at 12 months (n = 252) and analysed using chi-squared tests and generalized estimating equations. Results Of 297 participants at baseline, 144 (48%) were women and the mean age was 21.7 years. At 12 months follow-up, participants were significantly more likely to have a job (OR 3.04, 95% CI 2.10-4.39); to have accessed finance (OR 5.52, 95% CI 3.18-9.56); and experienced community support (OR 2.23, 95% CI 1.51-3.29) compared with baseline. There were no statistically significant changes in having enough money for food or in having experienced community discrimination. Conclusions The findings suggest that targeted vocational skills training, apprenticeships scheme and a start-up financial package may improve the livelihoods of young people living with disabilities in rural African settings.
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This article explores empirical evidence on the relationship between agricultural transformation, ownership structure of agribusinesses, and employment creation in Ethiopia. It draws on secondary data to present evidence of Ethiopia’s agricultural transformation, employment trends, and the agribusiness sector’s contribution to employment generation. The country’s agricultural sector has shown signs of transformation in the form of both labour movement to the more productive manufacturing and services sectors, and productivity growth through the commercialisation and creation of agribusinesses. The findings suggest that the growing number of agribusinesses are generating more jobs for youth but also reveal a number of challenges to overcome, such as skills gaps, low pay in the private sector, and inflexible land ownership and transfer processes. The study suggests targeted policy reforms to incentivise efficient and competitive private agribusinesses, and to address agribusiness-related constraints, skills and wage gaps, as well as land ownership and rental market constraints.
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