Opening the 4th Annual International Leadership Conference, the Speaker of Uganda’s parliament, Rt. Hon. Kadaga thanked MUBS for organizing the Leadership Conference choosing youth as the theme. Opening the conference, she advised on how to deal with youth unemployment in the country.
SPEECH BY THE RT. HON. SPEAKER, THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT OF UGANDA AT THE MAKERERE UNIVERSITY BUSINESS SCHOOL 4TH ANNAL INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: 27 – 28 JUNE, 2013 AT IMPERIAL RESORT BEACH HOTEL, ENTEBBE
The Chairman of Council
The International Participants
It gives me great pleasure to be here this afternoon. I start by congratulating Prof. Waswa Balunywa for the renewal of his contract. This was important for the stability of the Institution and the good of higher education in the country. He has led changes in the sector and it will be good for the sector to continue to harness his ideas.
I must thank you for the invitation, I recall , about 10 years back I was here opening another conference organized by MUBS. This means, MUBS has been consistent in discharging its role as a University that causes discussions of issues relevant to a country’s development.
I am pleased that this year, the Leadership Centre chose a theme related to youth. Issues to deal with the youth are very important today, not only at the national level but even at the international level. The importance of the youth agenda is highlighted by the fact that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow and what we decide today affects them. The youth is the engine of work in any country. They are the most energetic, have many ideas and therefore they must be planned for and taken care of otherwise they become a liability to the country. If the youth are not productive, they become a burden to the country especially to those who are productive and pay taxes.
If youth are not gainfully engaged, they become a major liability to the country. Not only are they an economic cost, but create additional unwanted costs to the economy. Youth unemployment is a matter if national security and stability.
Youth who are not employed will become a social cost too. They may get involved in drug abuse, theft, prostitution among others. Idle youth get into undesirable association and may cause social unrest in society. It results into unwanted pregnancies, undesired relationships and misery.
Today, in Europe, especially in Spain and Greece youth unemployment is a major challenge. They report over 40% of youth unemployed in these countries. There are reports that the youth in these countries are engaged in undesirable activities which are visible on TV. Youth are involved in stone throwing and fighting the police on streets. There are many others that go unreported. I would also like to add that the revolution in Tunisia, began with frustration of the unemployed graduate who committed suicide because the police had taken away his weighing scale that he was using to sell vegetables to make ends meet.
No society would like to see its children on the street. No society would like to see its people without jobs and go hungry. Lack of employment translates into lack of incomes and creates vulnerability. Unemployment creates misery and if it is among youth, it creates despair within the country. This creates helplessness, creates hopelessness and people lose confidence. Without hope and confidence the country is condemned to poverty.
It is under such circumstances that we must study the challenges of the youth, discuss them and find solutions. There are many solutions and many governments and organizations have come up with many ideas and solutions. My recommendations are in the following areas:-
Family Planning: Africa has a major problem of high population growth. Africa must control its population growth rate. Let us produce children if we have the ability to feed and educate them.
Education: Many countries worldwide have Universal Primary Education and even at higher levels. We need to strengthen our education system and add vocational training at all levels. This should ensure that young people who drop out of School can consider self employment. The education must be focused to meet the needs of the economy. 30 years ago, Singapore took a decision to introduce a Skills Development Fund which facilitates and supports critical sectors. Today it is one of the leading economies with a high skilled labour force that does not depend on agriculture.
Government Economic Policies: Government of Uganda should continue to evolve policies that promote and encourage business activity especially business startup. An economy that does not have economic policies that support business is a prescription to poverty. This startup should be limited to monitoring, training in management and mentoring.
Government should provide infrastructure and support services to that facilitate young people to start business. Governments and Civil society should mainstream gender. There is need to give opportunity to the vulnerable, especially women and children to enable them express themselves and explore their skill potential.
I am therefore, pleased that this conference is looking at some of these issues. I want to commend MUBS for coming up with the theme on Youth. This is something that must be fast-tracked in policy formulation if we to have a prosperous future for our youth. What do we need to do is to create jobs, to remove alcoholism, prostitution and crime among the youth? What do we need to do to create happiness among our societies.
As a speaker of Parliament and a Lawyer, my major role is in formulation of laws that guide a society. I am not an expert in Youth Affairs, so I await those who are experts to bring us the recommendations.
I hope this conference will generate discussions that can contribute to policy. Government has a full Ministry in-charge of Youth, I hope that your recommendations can be sent to them to consider and incorporate in policies that concern the youth. I am most keen at knowing how we can create employment in our society.
Many young people look for jobs which are not there. What is the solution? How do we change the mindset of young people to look at job creation rather than seek jobs. I know the great minds here can put effort to finding a solution. As leaders/guardians,/parents, we must have a change in mindser in reaction to vocational and other trades which will make a difference in our society.
I would like to again thank MUBS for this conference. I know the Leadership Centre is trying to help building leaders in this country. Leaders have a role of guiding followers to achieve goals. Youth affairs are a major challenge for leaders, without leaders that think about such issues, countries cannot succeed. So, I thank the Leadership Centre and especially Ms. Regis Namuddu the Director for bringing up this theme. I also know the Centre has other programmes, you have our support in developing leadership in this country. To all participants thank you for coming to the conference and making it a success.
On this note I declare the conference opened.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY