Young Professionals told to acquire the right skills in order to enhance Uganda's Clean Energy Sector
With a population of about 45 million people, Uganda is poised to become a renewable energy powerhouse in line with the National Development Plan III whereby the country is targeting about 3,500 MW of installed capacity from the present targeted 1,800 MW by end of 2023.
By John Kusolo
With a population of about 45 million people, Uganda is poised to become a renewable energy powerhouse in line with the National Development Plan III whereby the country is targeting about 3,500 MW of installed capacity from the present targeted 1,800 MW by end of 2023. One of the proven drivers for renewable energy transition are a skilled entrepreneurial and technical workforce that understand not only technical aspects of renewables but also the legal, financial, commercial and development cycles to bring to reality the goals of the NDP III.
The energy sector is rapidly transforming and moving more towards renewable energy, a shift that is a huge opportunity to achieve greater youth, gender equality and inclusion in Uganda. The national household survey 2019/20 reported the pre-COVID-19 national unemployment rate as 9.2%, with women more affected than men. The same survey stated that the unemployment rate for youth aged 18-30 was 13%. Further data shows that around 10% of those in the "employed" category have formal jobs, while 90% work informally, without a formal contract or any type of social security. About 54% of the latter category are self-employed entrepreneurs.
Most of the entrepreneurs are driven by necessity, rather than opportunity, and their business activities are a survival strategy. According to Eng. Alexander Komakech Akena the Executive Chairman of the Uganda National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Alliance, Uganda's Energy sector is still scratching the surface and there are many opportunities. He said there is need for students at tertiary institutions to get proper training because many companies lack professional people. There are many jobs in the renewable energy sector for example researchers, marketers and manufactures to mention but a few.
Uganda has one of the youngest and most rapidly growing populations in the world and preparing them for productive jobs should be a social and political priority for the government. Annually, about 500,000 people are expected to enter the lab our market, hence the number of new entrants into the lab our force will be growing and will be younger in the next few decades.
To tackle the challenge of job creation and participation in the energy space by young people of diverse professionals, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development through the National Renewable Energy Platform in conjunction with the Uganda National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Alliance and Makerere University Business School have organized a workshop to discuss about the energy sector. This discussion is one of the activities leading to the annual conference, Renewable Energy Conference 2022 and Expo slated for 3rd-5th November 2022 at Kololo independence Grounds, Kampala.
The workshop focused on bringing together experts from the Energy, Legal, Development, Academia, Business and Finance sectors who would focus on how students of today and early career professionals, be it engineers, economists, scientists etc., can acquire the necessary skill sets early on in their career to exploit the opportunities that the country's energy space has got to offer.