Uganda is ranked the most entrepreneurial country in the world with an entrepreneurial rate of 27.3%. The more it is said the more it becomes puzzling how a country with the highest entrepreneurial rate in the world can have relatively high levels of unemployment, right? I believe that one of the ways to get to the bottom of this is to closely examine the health and life cycle of these enterprises that are mushrooming around us.
Don’t get me wrong, Initiative is good. However, Initiative without direction can only end one way. Premature death. One of the key contributors to the Enterprises’ premature death is the lack of mentorship and financial management. Over the next few weeks we will look at how we can get together and make our contribution to society on this front. Today we start at the foundation presupposing that you have a carefully laid out business plan.
Every enterprise needs a capital investment to get off the starting blocks, and the best source of capital for your business is your savings. Your savings are interest free which gives you room to make mistakes and improve without a bank manager breathing down your neck for a substantial repayment that you can’t raise yet. If you are in full employment you too can be an employer to someone in your homestead or back in your village. Your monthly paycheck can translate into savings that could be the source of your business capital.
Every start-up will have a potentially huge expenditure line and if not watched closely this can be your downfall. It is important to spend on basics to get your enterprise up and running. Invest only in Human and Marketing resources that will build on your Return on Investment in the short term and medium term. Use this time to study your industry and its related dynamics. This will guide your future investment decision when the opportunity to expand presents itself.
Find yourself a mentor in your chosen field of enterprise that will coach and mentor you. Your mentor will give you tips on how to grow your business steadily, advise you on what pitfalls to look out for and how to avoid them. Experience is priceless but there is no need for you to have to make your own mistakes to learn. You will save yourself time and money if you can study and learn from others’ experience.
If you are an already established Businessman or Businesswoman, I challenge you to pick up one or two young and upcoming entrepreneurs that you are going to mentor and coach to help them succeed.
AIRPORT EXPANSION IN TANZANIA’S POLITICAL CAPITAL DUE FOR COMPLETION BY SEPTEMBER (Posted 09th August 2016) The 12 billion Tanzania Shillings project by the Tanzania Airport Authority, to expand the airport in Dodoma, the political capital of the country, is according to information received making good progress. When completed next month will the airport finally accommodate […]
110 days. 112 Districts. Over 300 Political Rallies. Millions of people met. That was the grueling yet very rewarding exercise the NRM Presidential Candidate underwent preceding the successful General elections held on February 18th, 2016. On the campaign trail, a number of opportunities presented themselves for the new leadership to take advantage of and ensure consensus amongst all stakeholders in delivering an even better Uganda for all. Armed with these insights, the President HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who also serves as the National Chairman for the NRM Party, at his Swearing In ceremony on May 12th, 2016, categorically stated that in this Term of Office it was going to be business unusual both in Government and in the Party.
Prior to this, in mid-March 2016, the NRM Party held a retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi for its then newly elected Members of Parliament to discuss and deliberate on the issues that needed to be prioritized in the new term of office to deliver Uganda to the Middle Income Status group, from the present US$736 Income Per Capita to an Income Per Capita of US$1036.
In his Key Note Address to the assembly, the National Chairman highlighted the following key issues as fundamental in taking Uganda to the new level; a sense of Pan Africanism, a movement from subsistence farming to Commercial Farming, promotion of industrialization through mineral processing &value addition, enhanced support to research &innovation among scientists like the Kiira MV &the Kayoola Bus and Democracy.
Today and as has been the case for a while now, Uganda boasts of a multiparty democracy and yet a multiparty dispensation is one of the more misunderstood concepts in a young democracy like ours. I use the word young for two reasons, one our largely young population and two the age of multiparty systems in Uganda. In countries where Multiparty dispensations are light years ahead of us, administration of government is used as a unifying factor with members from more than one party both taking on leadership roles. In Uganda however, the system dictates that the winner of the Presidential election has no obligation to involve the losing Party and candidates. When the new Cabinet was announced, there was some discomfort among members of opposition who went as far as labeling their colleagues who accepted those roles as traitors! NOT SO, the members of Opposition who opted to take on these roles were actually being mature leaders who opted to put service to Uganda above self
Being a landlocked country, Uganda cannot afford an acrimonious relationship with her neighbors and as such she is obligated to lend a hand in sectors where she is advantaged to progressively position her peoples, promote trade and secure her borders. This is where the NRM Pan African-ism principle will play a vital role. Our economic growth will consequently be determined by how seamless our border movements impact on the size of tradable market. Today, Uganda is at the forefront of reinvigorating the East African Community market which will give us a prospective market of over 100 million people.
To ably tap into this large market, consensus should be built among stakeholders. This can be achieved if Government departments speak to each other and to the general public in a timely manner. On the other hand, the NRM Party has an obligation to keep its people at the grassroots actively involved in monitoring and evaluating the delivery of government programmes to the people. It was resolved that the NRM Party and Government will make use of the Local Barazas to widen civic participation in this exercise.
As a country whose people are largely dependent on Agriculture for their livelihood, it is unfortunate that we have 68% of our people excluded from the cash economy. This can be attributed to the widely practiced Subsistence farming as opposed to Commercial Farming. By promoting Industrialization we will in turn promote agro-processing which will yield higher returns for farmers thus drawing more numbers into the cash economy.
Borderless trade will demand that our labor and goods are of a strong caliber and Government is committed in to delivering that through vocational training, promoting productivity and disciplined labor, developing standards, ensuring certification and market promotion. Countless times, these have been the shortcomings associated with our goods and labor. Government will continue with its investment in the strategic areas of Tourism, Agriculture, Oil& Gas, Mineral Development, Industrialization, ICT and knowledge economy, Creative and Competitive Human Resources and Water Resources Development.
Our Economy’s performance is a key ingredient in our roadmap to achieving a Middle Income Status, as such Government will take action to ensure that it reduces on its domestic borrowing to minimize competition with the Private Sector, improve storage, post-harvest handling and agro-processing, provide support to start-ups in strategic industries, Operationalize and capitalize Uganda Development Corporation to support strategic sectors of the economy, Recapitalize Uganda Development Bank to provide affordable credit for Investments, develop and enforce business laws, ensure due diligence on Private Public Partnerships and have a dedicated focus on equitable income distribution so as to ensure peace and harmony in the country
Performance indicators for these key deliverables that will get us to Middle Income status will be steep and unattainable if there is no cohesion between the NRM Party Officials who delivered the winning manifesto to Ugandans, the Parliament and Government Officials who are charged with delivering the promise to the people. It was resolved that the Zonal MP meetings by the President and annual review of the NRM Manifesto implementation with both the Party and Government Leadership will go to great lengths to iron this out. Indeed, it will be business unusual in Uganda for the period 2016-2021.
Let me take this opportunity to weigh in on the hottest and most chair-gripping Presidential campaign happening on the World Stage that will determine who takes over the Oval Office at the White House come January 2017. The hotly contested race is between Republican Business Mogul, Donald Trump and Democrat Former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The third contestant Gary Johnson is little known so I won’t dwell on him. 2016, after 200 years of Independence, is the first time a major party is fielding a Woman as a Presidential Candidate. It was not until 1920 that Women were allowed to vote in the USA and in 1929 in Britain despite boasting of very old democracies.
First of all, KUDOS to the Democrats for nominating their First Female Presidential Candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not only did she break that glass ceiling, she actually went right through to the Galaxy. Hillary embodies hope and a new high on aspirations for both middle aged women and young girls growing up in America today. They too can aspire to become President of the United States of America. The Gender card is one that she has not shied away from in the course of this campaign, whether it is enough to pull the election off is a discussion that we can revisit on November 10th, 2016.
On July 12th, 2016 the Presumptive Democrat Nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton had 77.9% of the polls in her favor and her counter the Presumptive Republican Nominee had 22.0% in his favor. Today, a little over 2 weeks later, Hillary Rodham Clinton is at 52.8% and Donald Trump is at 47.1%. This begs the question is this beginning of the end? Is this reversible? Bearing in mind that polls will be held on November 08, 2016?
The Republican Candidate Donald Trump on the other hand has no political experience to speak of but promises to singlehandedly deliver greatness back to America. The raw passion with which he articulates his position reminds me of someone who will get things done or die trying and woe be unto whoever gets in his way. The question that most Americans will need to answer is whether they need a bulldozer at their helm or a consensus builder.
Not too long ago, the position of the USA as a world leader was unchallenged and there were no contenders in sight. Today, that is not the case, there are close seconds; China and the European Union have emerged as possible world leaders. Therefore for the USA to maintain that position sobriety will have to prevail on the polling day.
At a Rotary Club of Muyenga Breeze meeting yesterday, Col. Felix Kulaigye made an observation that in the developing world the Politics determines the Economy and in the developed world, the Economy determines the Politics. Taking that into the US Election Context; have the Democrats done enough to retain their grip on the White House or have the Republicans convinced the Americans to give them a chance to fix what they spoilt 8 years? That is what we shall find out come November 08, 2016.
With more positives going for them, one would expect that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be leading with a double digit margin and she was a little over 2 weeks ago but today with only a 6pc marginal lead it is too close to call and we can only wait for November, 2016 to know the final outcome.
A fact checker though conducted by the Los Angeles Times on the Acceptance speeches made by both Candidates from their Party Conventions favor Hillary over Trump on the truth-o-meter.
So why does it matter anyway? With the Democrats in Office, we as Africans can expect the status quo to remain. On the other hand, with the Republicans in Office we can expect the boat to be rocked. In my view; rocking the boat will always be two-sided. It can awaken the sleeping Giant in Africa or it can break Africa. Uganda and Africa as a whole are raking in a tidy sum of millions of dollars in remittances back home annually from our immigrant brothers and sisters living in the USA. With tighter controls albeit on remittances too, this may be reduced. We will then be forced to seek alternative ways of raising this funding thereby awakening the sleeping giant.
Should Hillary make it at the end of this race, we will see her join Germany, UK and South Korea and possibly become the most powerful woman in the world. A thumbs up for the women’s movement in the USA either way.
In 2001, my siblings and I tested our entrepreneurial skills by making some chapatis for sale to supermarkets and restaurants in our neighborhood and for the market entrants that we were, it worked out just fine. A few years later, one of my sisters then tried her hand plying a charcoal-delivery route to markets within the Capital City and the proceeds financed another venture. This is the spirit of Entrepreneurship that was and still is at the heart of many households in Uganda. Some ideas are better than others but the principle is to be able to earn from one’s hard work. It is therefore no wonder that Uganda is ranked the most entrepreneurial country in the world with an entrepreneurial rate of 28.3%. The big question has been; why is the entrepreneurial rate not resonating with the unemployment statistics?
The 2016-2021 NRM Manifesto was themed wealth creation and all inclusive development. This was primarily because while the NRM administration sought to improve household incomes by improving all manner of Infrastructure, the result has been that the relatively more wealthy households are becoming richer while the poor households are becoming poorer. The reinforcement of the Youth Livelihood Fund by Government is a welcome intervention in tackling the issue of youth empowerment and wealth creation. With a record 105,647 beneficiaries and a total fund disbursement of Ushs. 58.4Billion so far, the Fund has no doubt enjoyed a significant penetration rate challenges notwithstanding.
Sean Walugembe’s Group (not real name), one of the Fund’s beneficiaries, acquired a facility of Ush7.5Million from the Youth Livelihood Fund to start a cattle fattening project in Wakiso District in 2014. During the first twelve months, the Group was able to payback the entire sum of money owed to the fund and had a surplus of Ush 3Million which they then divided amongst themselves and each went their way with at least Ushs 300,000/=. The decision for each to pursue their own individual dreams after the project is a demonstration of the complexity of group dynamics in Income generation and the entrepreneurial skills or the lack thereof amongst Fund recipients. With this background, how does the Youth Livelihood Fund ensure that these issues don’t crop up again thereby denying the Fund real success?
The Youth Livelihood Fund in its present format is very flexible as there is no interest charged for the first 12months but payments after the initial 12 months attract a 5% surcharge, formal registration of groups is not a precondition for access to funds, no administrative fees are levied and there is no collateral required to access the funds. However, this is likely to expose the Fund’s portfolio to a higher risk of default as the credit appraisal process as well as the supervision of beneficiaries’ projects are to be performed by non-technical staff.
In the next phase of the Fund’s disbursements there is a need to ensure that all groups that qualify for the Funds are also assisted to acquire a Tax Identification Number (TIN). In addition, beneficiaries should be equipped with basic book keeping skills and followed up on the practice. Over time this will inculcate a discipline among group members that will not only translate into real economic growth at a later stage but will also ease project monitoring both at a strategic supervision level and at the group implementation level.
Statistics from the recent disbursements show that 43.8% of the funds were channeled to Agricultural Projects, 27.8% to Trade, 11.2% to Services and the balance of the funds have financed other projects like Vocational Skills, Small scale industries, Agro-processing, Agro-forestry, ICT and the Creatives. With interdepartmental collaboration, the respective Government Departments in partnership with the Private Sector can allocate technical staff to supervise and mentor the Youth venturing in these projects to ensure higher project success and continuity.
For existing groups, expansion funding can be encouraged to allow for growth and healthy aging of projects. Under the Youth Livelihood Fund, both new and existing groups qualify for Funding. If unchecked we may find ourselves in a situation where the Fund promotes more ‘stunted’ groups through same amounts of funds than evolving groups’ capacity through incremental funding.
It is the norm in every sector world over that whenever funding is going to be given, Fund recipients undergo rigorous financial management training. However beneficial this training is, if given as a one-off; it is akin to a taking a single panadol tablet instead of a full dose to relieve a serious headache. This training must be regular in the life-cycle of these projects with key performance and measurement indicators. This is where interdepartmental technocrats can come on board to provide continuous coaching and mentoring to these young entrepreneurs.
Unlike other Youth Development Funds in New Zealand, Botswana, Kenya and South Africa, The Ugandan Youth Livelihood Fund is socialistic in its approach with its project approval structure deeply enshrined in the Local Government structures right from the sub-county level to the Ministry. A model that the Liberian Government is going great lengths to study and replicate back home. This model promotes accountability amongst community members.
After all is said and done, The Youth Livelihood Fund has registered success with at least 22 successful projects in its infancy. Taking the improvements above into consideration, It will register more successes translating into meaningful contribution to Uganda’s economy in the months and years to come.
Globally, there is a rising consensus steadily evolving among community leaders, the educated, and policymakers that ending gender-based violence and discrimination requires the full involvement of communities — and in particular, the increased participation of men and boys. This is because men and boys worldwide continue to maintain an unfair high lead compared to women […]
GULF’S LEADING LCC GETS MOMBASA TRAFFIC RIGHTS (Posted 26th July 2016) News from Kenya suggest that FlyDubai, the Gulf’s leading low cost carrier, has been granted traffic rights to Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city. The airline already flies daily to Dar es Salaam with stops at Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar respectively and operates several flights a […]