The Mastercard Foundation unveiled a Young Africa Works in Uganda that will enable more than three million youths to access dignified job opportunities by 2030.
Under this strategy, the Mastercard Foundation has committed $200 million to ensure young men, women and refugees in Uganda have access to economic opportunities.
Speaking during the launch of the 10- year strategy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO, Reeta Roy said that the strategy will support agri-food systems and agribusinesses through the commercialisation of agriculture as well as strengthen the growing tourism and hospitality sector.
“We have formed partnerships with a number of organisations and together, if we are successful, they already represent 30 per cent of the goal of having 30 million people in dignified and fulfilling work. What’s special is how our partners have come together to intentionally collaborate and leverage each other’s strengths,” she said.
In Uganda, youth account for nearly 82 per cent of the country’s entire population.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni applauded the Foundation for aligning this strategy to the government’s National Development Plan.
“I commend Mastercard Foundation for your efforts towards youth empowerment and transformation in Africa over the last decade. I am glad to note that your focus over the next decade is on uplifting young people by expanding employment opportunities. The Young Africa Works strategy is in line with the work that our government is doing to achieve the goal of a healthy, educated, and prosperous population.” he said.
He, however, noted that as the country struggles to address the unemployment issue, skills gap still remain the biggest challenge.
“There is a challenge with the skills available and what employers want. For instance, recently I found that out of 36,000 students at Makerere University, those who have enrolled for science-based courses are less than 10,000. We need to ensure that this challenge is addressed in that even those who did humanities can be re-skilled to suit the market demand,” he added.
Since 2008, the Mastercard Foundation has invested more than $282 million in expanding access to finance, education, skills training to more than two million people including students, farmers, teachers and out-of-school youth countrywide.