By Ronad Angarukamu
Uganda, like most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, continues to subscribe to several developmental paradoxes such as: plentiful natural resources, versus grinding poverty; significant tracts of arable land, versus famine and pestilence; copious amounts of raw materials, versus a dearth in industrial activity; a host of natural as well as geographical endowments, versus inadequate efforts to uplift the standards and quality of life of the citizenry.
It is in this vein that although Uganda is rich with variety mineral and agricultural resources and predominantly young population, we still have development challenges of poverty, joblessness and low productivity.
It is critically urgent that these trends are reversed and that Uganda aggressively exploits her resources, talent and demographic dividend and create jobs while generating wealth for the country.
This can only be done if we observe, plan, endorse and address the pillars that are sine-qua-non to industrialization, i.e. appropriate technologies, skilled manpower, and affordable financing.
With the ongoing Presidential Industrial Hubs development program, it’s an opportunity for local populations to make the most of the opportunity.
The NRM and specifically under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni has at every occasion rallied the people to embrace the money economy if we are to have healthier and sustainable social and economic livelihoods and significantly contribute to the country’s development.
This client-tailored program addresses the specific skill and technology needs for individuals and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and is in line with the government’s key areas identified for wealth creation, namely; commercial agriculture, services, Industry and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
It has often been a common phenomenon that government and donor funded community development initiatives often fail to continue operating especially when the funds runout.
The good thing is that from the design of the Presidential Industrial Hubs program, the exact needs, priority areas and aspirations of the specific region are carefully considered.
Furthermore, the initiative is built on the previously successful programs such as the Presidential initiative for skilling the girl child, that performed excellently well in Kampala, key lessons and other emerging constraints are well considered.
Central to the success of the program is the deployment and effective use of technologies, both for training and for production.
While the structures have been constructed and fully equipped with machinery, the program also has citizens and the management of the local governments at the centre in her day to day running, from key aspects of beneficiaries mobilization, and importantly, emphasising community ownership.
With the 20 Industrial Hubs established in the all sub regions of the country, we shall see youths and other groups acquire specialized skills in various disciplines, with mini factories serving as training, business incubation and production centres.
These hubs compliment the various skills development and SME support initiatives being implemented by other government agencies and the donor community.
Ronad Angarukamu is a Textile Engineer and an Industry development specialist
0789621380, [email protected]
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