What is the cost of Unemployment in Uganda?

Last week, a total of 14,318 students graduated from Makerere University with degrees in various disciplines.


To the graduads, it’s a triumph over university hardships. Salutations! Of these graduates, 64 received Doctorate degrees, while 1159 were awarded with masters degrees. The remaining folks will be fresh members of the labour market.

According to statistics, more than 400,000 young Ugandans who enter the labour market each year, only about 113,000 are absorbed in formal employment, leaving the rest to face the wrath of job scarcity.

The fresh graduates will be joining many more unemployed degree holders who have been trotting the country searching for employment.

Though a university degree is a must have these days, it is not a ticket to a pretty job.

It’s hard for fresh graduates to find good jobs in situations where employers will asking for experience.

No, don’t ask them working experience but unemployment experience.

The skills of these graduates are doubted by the employers.

A survey released by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) in 2014 reported that more than 6 in 10 university graduates in East Africa are “half-baked.” The survey sought the views of employers in the five East African Community (EAC) countries on the employability of graduates from local universities and it was reported that worst records were in Uganda (63%) and Tanzania (61%) with graduates unfit for jobs.

Leaving university means the end of financial backing from parents for most of the graduates.

Life becomes tougher. No money to purchase basic necessities.

Essentially, in unschooled societies, parents send children to schools hoping that they will get good jobs after leaving universities, and build for them good houses, buy for them cars, etc.

In circumstances where graduates don’t get jobs, parents’ perception change. They are dissuaded from sending children to universities.

Politically, the jobless youth aren’t permitting politicians to enjoy good times.

We have seen dramatic incidents of youth protesting unemployment.

At the zenith of The Jobless Brotherhood, its big wings successfully managed to sneak two yellow pigs into parliament parking area to demonstrate their annoyance against an unhelpful Parliament, which they ridiculed as ‘Yes M.Pigs Corruption Constituency.”

That was the end of the story, government is yet invite “The Jobless Brotherhood” for a round table discussion on easing monstrous unemployment.

For the economy, Generation of ‘good’ jobs and economic growth are closely connected.

Rising labour incomes are the primary means through which growth is translated into improved standards of living and lower poverty rates.

Moreover, employment in modern sectors involving skill development and technological learning which in turn can promote productivity growth, economic development.

The unemployed graduates also represents an important potential loss of revenue for the government.

In Uganda, unemployed don’t receive unemployment benefit from the state. Measuring the cost of unemployment would involve indirect cost to the economy, to individuals and to society as a whole.

The costs are difficult to measure. But to a graduate who has been on Kampala streets searching for a job for more than a year, the cost of unemployment maybe expensive than a university degree. In Uganda, students spend a minimum of 16years in school laboring to obtain a degree.

To the graduates, “sit alone at home, pondering what next after campus. Its unemployment in Uganda. Maybe, watch cartoons to pass time, drink a glass of liquor to ease your mind. But unemployment won’t go away. To the optimistic graduates, maybe a call, email or text message is coming with a good message that you are worthy for a job. Its unemployment in Uganda.”

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