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Youth Encouraged to Embrace Innovation for Job Opportunities at Makerere Expo

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youth encouraged to embrace innovation for job opportunities at makerere expo
youth encouraged to embrace innovation for job opportunities at makerere expo
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Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, addressed students in higher education institutions, urging them to prioritize innovations aimed at generating employment opportunities. He made this statement during the two-day Youth and Innovation Expo 2023, which carried the theme “Fostering Innovation for Uganda’s Transformational Development.” The event took place at Makerere University, where Tayebwa served as the chief guest.

Makerere University hosted the expo with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and MTN Uganda. The expo provided a platform for over 300 young individuals to showcase their innovative projects and enterprises, with a primary focus on exploring avenues for commercializing their innovations.

The event featured various activities, including a student-inspired fashion show, exhibitions displaying student innovations, and presentations highlighting innovations-turned-enterprises from the Youth for Business program across all ten colleges of the University and other University institutions.

Tayebwa emphasized that many young people spend considerable time complaining about existing policies rather than channeling their efforts towards thinking of innovative solutions that can improve their lives. He commended UNDP for giving young people the opportunity to showcase their innovations and stressed that it is essential for the youth to engage in innovation instead of merely complaining.

Massimiliano Mazzanti, the Ambassador of Italy to Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, expressed his admiration for the innovative spirit of Uganda’s youth, who make up a significant portion of the population. He highlighted the importance of job creation, given that 70 percent of Uganda’s population is under 30 years of age. Mazzanti emphasized the need for aligning donations and donor projects with Uganda’s national plans.

Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, affirmed the institution’s commitment to empowering research and innovation to enable students to create their employment opportunities and combat unemployment.

One of the innovators, Godfrey Sengozi, demonstrated how he uses eggshell waste and sand to produce wall and floor tiles. He explained that this innovation originated as his final year project and has since led to the establishment of a company that produces more than 200 tiles daily.

Jacob Eyeru, Chairperson of the National Youth Council, called on the government to create a supportive environment for young innovators by shielding them from direct competition with large corporations during bidding processes. He proposed that the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) set aside certain projects exclusively for youths under the age of 30.

Makerere University Guild President, Robert Maseruka, encouraged students not to limit themselves to specific types of innovations based on gender. He urged them to seize all opportunities as they embark on the path of innovation and entrepreneurship.