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Challenges In Articulating a Youth Agenda for Uganda

Since I joined the campaign for National Female Youth MP, I wanted to share with you some of the challenges I have observed in articulating a youth agenda for a country as young as Uganda. I do this to be able to also engage with non-voters.

The biggest challenge for growth with jobs, for example, is that youth unemployment has been assigned a special category. This is problematic because it creates an excuse for politicians to speak as if there is a separate economy for youth yet, there is one Ugandan economy. Even before one looks deep into unemployment statistics – the structure of the population is such that nearly 80% of Uganda’s 42 million population are under the age of 30. In other words, youth are a statistical majority whether employed or not.

Young people make the majority of employees, taxpayers, voters and many more. Under the affirmative action system, however, if I run for a Youth MP position, I am elected by an electoral college not universal suffrage. So while we are a majority, politically we are a minority. This creates many problems for addressing youth affairs. Youth, being determined as a special category are locked outside. We even have to lobby to be part of the solution.

This explains perhaps why youth development funds are so little. They don’t address the elephant in the room – which is that any unemployment is youth unemployment and therefore any growth benefits the youth. Youth issues are treated as a special silo and often forgotten. So, I think it is time to return young people to the mainstream and end their isolation. Like me, they want to be part of the main discussion and critique as to why Uganda is not taking “advantage of the youth population dividend”.

Kindly send me your ideas on how we can improve the relationship between young people and governance. If you have a young person or are a young person yourself – take an interest in these matters. I thank you. 

You can reach me at [email protected] or +256 780 734 827

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Written by Angella Kasekende (0)

Angella is a candidate for Uganda National Female Youth Member of Parliament 2021-2026. She is passionate about creating change for the youth and women. She believes a new beginning is a commitment to eternal hope, to personal and community growth, and to common prosperity with a shared future in mind.

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