By Moses Kaketo
It is estimated that more than 400,000 young Ugandans graduate every year. However, fewer than 100,000 are absorbed into formal employment, so where are the others?
The next time, you get to a mobile money point; do not look down on those young young women serving you. A sample survey carried out by Newz Post in Ntinda, Mukono, Kabagala and Kireka revealed that a good number of those working at mobile money points are university graduates.
Nakazzi Annet 26, operates a mobile money kiosk in Ntinda. The graduate of Procurement from Kyambogo University, says after searching for a job for two years, her father gave her Ugx. 3m as capital to start a mobile money business. Nakazzi says on average, she makes a profit of Ugx. 15,000 daily. She is planning to enroll for Master’s Degree next year, hoping to secure a job when she is done with her studies.
If there is a business that is growing so fast in Uganda, it is the Boutiques –dealing in second hand clothes. The owners are said to be earning abnormal profits.
Moses Mapesa 28, is a graduate from Ndejje University. In 2013, with advice from a colleague, he set up a Boutique dealing in women second clothes in Kabagala. Since then, he has never looked back. He says he buys some of the clothes for as low as Ugx. 20,000 and sells them for Ugx. 150,000. He has brought a plot of land in Sonde-Namugongo at Ugx. 30m. He is planning to start building soon.
According to the 2014 National Housing and Population Census, riding Boda Boda is one of the fastest growing occupations among the youth in Uganda.
The occupation is no longer for school dropouts. University graduates have since joined the business. This is why you find smartly dressed and English speaking boda boda riders of recent.
READ: Ugandans with more than four jobs
According to those in the trade, depending on where you operate from, boda boda riders make up to Ugx. 40,000 as profit a day, translating to Ugx, 1.200,000 per month. Remember, this money is tax-free, No NSSF, no transport costs since they use their machines to get to work.
Juma Kasanda 27, is a graduate of Kyambogo University. In 2012, after trying hard and failing to get a job, he decided try boda boda riding operating in Kamwokya. Four years later, he says he has achieved a lot which his colleagues in formal employment are yet to achieve.
‘‘am married, my children go to better schools. I also recently set up a business for my wife. Generally, life is good.’’ He says.
When life became hard at home, thousands of Ugandan graduates decided to try their luck somewhere else. They are now living and working abroad, especially the United Arab Emirates where, they earn an average of Ugx. 2million per month. Newz Post talked to a couple of them who revealed that while they face a number of challenges, life is far better than living without a job in Uganda. Given the flexible working environment, many of them have gone back to school for further education hoping to secure government jobs.
The graduates who have lost hope of securing a job and unable to start their own businesses have resorted to gambling. With little success stories from those who bet, the best they can get is little money to buy lunch and sometimes supper. These are the future leaders.
With more youth finding it hard to live a sustainable life, and many still living with their parents 05+ years after they graduated –the future of our country is blink.
These youth end up producing children they cannot afford to look after-these children end up on the streets living as bustards.
More about the author: Moses Kaketo