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Secondary School Dropouts a Dominant Force in Uganda’s Informal Sector

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Research conducted by a team led by Salmon Mugoda a Member of Faculty, Department of Economic Theory and Analysis, School of Economics, Makerere University has brought to light evidence of a strong entrepreneurial spirit among secondary school dropouts than any other level of education. Findings further revealed that this dominance is driven by two key factors, namely; wanting to take advantage of an existing business opportunity and failure to find employment in the formal sector.

These findings are contained in the first publication under the project titled: “Understanding the dynamics of the informal sector in Uganda” funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF). The Open Access article, The portrait of Uganda’s informal sector: What main obstacles do the sector face?, was published in Cogent Economics & Finance, Volume 8 Issue 1, and is accessible at: https://doi.org/10.1080/23322039.2020.1843255.

Other embers of the project team include; Stephen Esaku-Adjunct Faculty, Kyambogo University (Soroti Campus), Rose Kibuka Nakimu-Faculty Member, Department of Economic Theory and Analysis, School of Economics, Makerere University and Assoc. Prof. Edward Bbaale-Dean School of Economics and Director EfD-Mak Centre, Makerere University.

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Prof. Bbaale hands over Deanship to Prof. Okumu

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Front Row: Deputy Principal CoBAMS-Prof. Bruno Yawe (2nd L), Prof. Edward Bbaale (3rd L) and Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (4th L) with staff from CoBAMS, the Human Resources Directorate and Internal Audit at the handover ceremony on 16th January 2023 at Makerere University.

Prof. Edward Bbaale on January 16, 2023 handed over Deanship of the School of Economics to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike. This follows Prof. Bbaale’s appointment as the Director of the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT). The handover was witnessed by members of staff, the College Human Resources Officer, a representative from the Internal Audit Directorate and the Deputy Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS).

While handing over, Prof. Bbaale thanked the members of staff for the support offered to him during his tenure of 8 years. He especially thanked the Heads of Department, the internship and examination coordinators for the support rendered to him. Over the last 8 years, the school has registered several achievements which include growth in enrollment, improvement in teaching and learning, research and publications as well as building partnerships and collaborations.

Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (R).
Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (R).

The school has since installed white boards in all classes to replace the traditional chalk boards. The school also procured some ICT equipment for its staff. The school successfully reviewed all its programs and also introduced two new graduate programs; MSc Investment and Economic Modelling and Msc. Development Economics. The school, as noted by the outgoing Dean has maintained a good culture of research and publications.

The outgoing Dean pointed out some challenges that need to be addressed. These include limited lecture and office space, limited finances, limited number of professors, the low propensity of staff to conduct graduate teaching, non-functional computer laboratories, increased examination malpractice among students and the low completion rates especially among graduate students. “Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts from all of us academic, administrative and support staff,” Prof. Bbaale said.

Prof. Bruno Yawe (2nd L) and a representative from the Internal Audit Directorate (R) witness as Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (2nd R).
Prof. Bruno Yawe (2nd L) and a representative from the Internal Audit Directorate (R) witness as Prof. Edward Bbaale (L) hands over the Deanship to Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike (2nd R).

In his acceptance speech, Prof. Okumu said he hopes to enhance the research output of the school. “The zeal to deliver is there,” he emphasized. He shared his plans for the school which included building international relationships in an effort to start international reviews of Masters and PhD thesis, improving web presence of all staff members, grow the numbers of collaborations and starting of a mentorship program for graduate students.

The Deputy Principal, Prof. Bruno Yawe, congratulated both professors upon their new appointments and wished them good service to the university. He pledged management’s support to the new Dean as well as Prof. Bbaale.

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HEED-Africa: Call for Master’s, PhD, Staff & Visiting Scholars Mobility Scholarship Applications 2023

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A female student walks across the Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Taken: 7th March 2019

Harmonization of Entrepreneurship Education for Sustainable Development of Africa (HEED-Africa) project is made up of a consortium of partner universities from Africa and Europe. The consortium comprises of Addis Ababa University, Coordinating Institution (Ethiopia), the University of Ghana (Ghana), Milpark Education (South Africa), Makerere University (Uganda), Kyambogo University (Uganda) and the University of Wolverhampton (United Kingdom).

HEED-Africa strives to foster the development of student and staff academic exchange through a systematic academic mobility flows framework in joint study, researches, academic activities, and mobility agreements across five regional higher education institutions.

The main objective of HEED-Africa is to develop and implement harmonized knowledge ecosystems in entrepreneurship through embedding. It also aims to create the learning conditions to increase the ability of graduates to become job creators rather than job seekers administrative staff.

HEED-Africa calls for outstanding students from African universities to apply for Academic Mobility Scholarship-2023 in different Master’s Degree and PhD Programme fields of study as well as academic and administrative staff to apply and join one of the five African universities for a short-term Visiting Scholars Academic Mobility.

HEED-Africa will offer a total of 35, 27 and 9 Scholarships for Master’s, PhD and Visiting Scholars respectively.

Applications Deadline is 30th January, 2023, and online applications will be closed at 14.00 GMT.

See Downloads for detailed adverts.

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EfD Uganda hosts renown energy economist, Marc Jeuland – Duke University

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Prof. Edward Bbaale (Left) addresses some of the participants attending the seminar on 1st December 2022 at the EfD-Mak Centre, Makerere University.

The EfD-Mak Centre Uganda on 1st December, 2022, hosted renown scholar  in the area of economics at the EfD Network and University of Duke in the United States. Marc Jeuland was invited for the seminar to share his work and inspire the research fellows and students of economics because of his deep wealth experience in the area of energy economics.

Presenting a paper on Sustainable energy transitions in developing countries: Research knowledge and research gaps, Marc explained why energy transition is important.

“Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability. Modern energy can help avoid lung diseases and millions of deaths, and support children to study after dark, farmers to pump water for crops, households to refrigerate food, clinics to keep medicines, and poor people to reduce time-consuming drudgery and entrepreneurs to develop small businesses”, he said.

Marc Jeuland presenting online.
Marc Jeuland presenting online.

The seminar held via zoom provided an opportunity for researchers and graduate students to learn from him as far as energy transition is concerned by sharing some of the insights, experiences, and the main research gaps and advise about a country like Uganda that is still using unclean energy in all sectors.

Uganda as a country, is still very far on the transition project just starting to think about clean e-vehicles etc. As researchers and graduates, this is an area where they need to go deeper if  they are to contribute to this cause of sustainability, adaptation and resilience.

Centre Director Edward Bbaale says, the center is trying to focus on a number of issues that are intended to mitigate climate change, which are much related to energy. According to Bbaale, some of the fellows have done research in energy economics and still have that drive to go deeper into it given the central role of energy transitions as far as resilience, adaptation and sustainability issues are concerned. This is also very important for Uganda that is still very much dependent on unclean energy for many purposes.

Prof. Edward Bbaale speaking during the training.
Prof. Edward Bbaale speaking during the training.

“We wanted to understand the major theoretical aspects that are concerned with developing research in energy economics and we wanted to tap into the experience on how to theoretically model the aspects of energy economics but also understand his experience as far as the empirical methodologies of approaching energy studies are concerned”, the Director said.

Marc Jeuland started with the historical perspectives on  energy transition and a narrative dominated by the historical account of the industrial revolution and gave the broader definition of energy  transition as a change in the fundamental state of  an energy system and  moved into understanding how different countries are doing as far as energy aspects are concerned.

Some of the graduate students attending the training.
Some of the graduate students attending the training.

At the same time, he presented the research gaps, missing knowledge and data gaps as well as things to look out for when developing research proposals and the gender nexus as an issue.

“The main issue is the gaps to do in the energy economic literature, but also the methodological aspects that we can look out for when trying to find proposals in energy economics”, Bbaale explained.

The EfD Mak Seminar series

The centres hosts a series of seminars  on different research aspects bringing together research fellows, undergraduate and graduate students with the aim of helping  the faculty learn new things and at the same time help students pick up new ideas.

A section of students during the seminar.
A section of students during the seminar.

As young economists, these seminars are meant to help students understand what economists do in the profession they are  going into beyond a narrow perspective  of passing their degrees.

These seminars also open up the students’ world into accepting what the subject matter is all about and to appreciate that the journey they have started on answers to global challenges and are therefore relevant in pursuing this profession.

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