Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) the apex body of the private sector in Uganda, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Young Africa Works Uganda, on Tuesday held a high level Private-Public Policy dialogue on the status of East Africa Community integration on investments and job creation, to get the young person’s outlook on the status of the EAC and an overview on the future.

From this conversation, solutions which should be taken to plan for the emerging opportunities, especially for the young people in the EAC integration process.

“There are existing business opportunities that can be harnessed to support the growth of the economy and job creation. Presently, the ecosystem, the companies and SMEs continue to be negatively affected by some market restrictions which hinder their ability to expand and grow and create both direct and indirect work opportunities to the youth in the value chains,” Stephen Asiimwe, Chief Executive Officer- PSFU

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“Six weeks ago, we were in Nairobi with the East African Business Council and we drafted a common paper which is going to be presented at the Heads of State Summit to ensure that the private sector voice is heard before the president’s make meaningful decisions,” Asiimwe added.

Stephen Asiimwe, Chief Executive Officer- PSFU

According to the 2021 report by the World Bank, East Africa, one of the hardest hit regions by the third wave of the coronavirus was expected to rebound from 3.3 percent in 2021 and 3.4 percent in 2022. Several countries have since embarked on difficult but necessary structural reforms that address digital infrastructure gaps and make the economy more inclusive – ensuring affordability and building skills for all segments of society and generate more and better jobs for young men and women.

The dialogue was also meant to sensitize the public, especially MsMEs and the young people in business on the existing and emerging opportunities in the EAC customs union to foster industrialization and growth of the private sector in Uganda.

The dialogue was attended by over 100 key members of the business community, young entrepreneurs, academia, media and public officials to generate solutions to addressing the issues constraining the performance of the EAC and her implications of investments and job creation for Ugandans.

Among the invited guests was the Minister in charge of EAC Affairs-Cabinet of Uganda, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, who pledged to support the private sector.

Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga

“I pledge to take advice and work with you all to ensure that we achieve the objectives of the common market which came in 5 years after the customs Union and was meant to integrate the economies of this region, give opportunities to the private sector and increase competitiveness.” Kadaga highlighted

Among the next steps discussed were;

  • To collate the proposals of the young entrepreneurs on the status of the EAC integration and its implications to their investments, jobs and the future perspective.
  • To dialogue with Government on the need to address the prevalent restrictions to trade which affect investments and job creation
  • To agree on solutions which should be taken to plan for the emerging opportunities for the young people in the EAC integration process
  • Sensitize the public and the Young Africa Works Uganda Partners on the existing and emerging opportunities in the EAC customs union to foster industrialization and growth of the private sector in the region.

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is Uganda’s apex body for the private sector. It is made up of over 200 business associations, corporate bodies and the major public sector agencies that support private sector growth.

Since its founding in 1995, PSFU has served as a focal point for private sector advocacy as well as capacity building and continues to sustain a positive policy dialogue with Government on behalf of the private sector.

PSFU aims to strengthen Private Sector capacity for effective policy advocacy and market competitiveness nationally, regionally and internationally. Regionally, PSFU is the national focal point for the East African Business Council (EABC) and the COMESA Business Council (CBC).

Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, across Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work. Africa will be home to the world’s largest workforce, with 375 million young people entering the job market by 2030.

“With the right skills, these young people will contribute to Africa’s global competitiveness and improve their lives and those of their communities.”

The Mastercard Foundation will implement Young Africa Works in 10 African countries in collaboration with governments, private sector, entrepreneurs, educators, and young people.

The first phase of countries identified by the Mastercard Foundation are Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Nigeria.