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Business & Management

Address Financial Literacy to Improve Household Income-Study



Findings by a team of researchers from the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) have recommended that the Government through its agencies should partner with private financial institutions to organise financial literacy trainings to teach households on how to access capital, save and invest in productive ventures. The recommendations were made at a research dissemination workshop for the project titled: Evaluation of the effectiveness of financial inclusion on household’s welfare in Uganda: A case study of Busoga region.

While officially opening the hybrid dissemination workshop held on Wednesday 29th September 2020 in the School of Business Conference Room and virtually, the Principal CoBAMS, Dr. Eria Hisali thanked the Government of Uganda for funding the project through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF). He equally commended the Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Eric Nzibonera and his team on successfully completing their project and achieving the set objectives.

Chief Guest at the Dissemination Mr. John Peter Mujuni represented The Executive Director, Microfinance Support Centre.

Dr. Hisali proposed four options to ensure that the findings from the study reach a wider audience.

  1. Immediately upload the findings on the College’s new working paper series website, which will enable staff to read the document and provide feedback
  2. Proceed to transform the working paper into a journal article so as to reach audiences from different parts of the world
  3. Proactively review curricular in preparation for the possibility of gradually using research from Makerere as part of course outlines and teaching materials.
  4. Take advantage of the College’s planned framework of engaging policy makers formally through policy labs that will be held every quarter.
Principal College of Business and Management Sciences Dr. Eria Hisali officially opened the workshop

Presenting the findings from the project, the PI Dr. Nzibonera thanked the Principal for his advice and his research team for their hard work. Other members of the team that sampled 430 heads of households included the Dean School of Business Dr. Godfrey Akileng and Ms. Hellen Nambi.

“Financial Inclusion is a process through which financial services are delivered to the disadvantaged and low-income sections of the society on a timely basis and at affordable costs” defined Dr. Nzibonera, adding that “the relationship between financial inclusion and poverty alleviation has been widely discussed but only few studies explore the effect of financial inclusion on household welfare.”

He therefore shared the twofold objective of the project as; to establish the extent to which the rural households engage in financial inclusion and to examine the nature of household welfare and establish the extent to which financial inclusion enhance households’ welfare. The latter, he noted, would help guide policy recommendations to the Government and private sector.

Project PI – Dr. Eric Nzibonera (back row 5th Right), Dean of School of Business- Dr. Godfrey Akileng (R) in a group photo after dissemination of the project findings.

Dr. Nzibonera noted that financial inclusion is measured through establishing the extent of availability and accessibility to financial services, affordability, usage and quality of financial products. He added that household welfare is improved through access to quality education and health services, improved shelter, food production and consumption as well as access to information.

The findings on availability and accessibility to financial services revealed an interesting pattern. “Whereas households still find it hard to access formal financial services for savings and deposits’ and services provided by bank agents are irregular, they easily access mobile money services for withdrawals and payments” he shared.

In terms of affordability, findings revealed that although the cost of accessing financial institutions and withdrawing funds from mobile money agents is still high, the cost of accessing financial services through bank agents and carrying out financial transactions through financial institutions is affordable.

Investigations into the usage and quality of services showed that households find it easy to use mobile money and village SACCOs to make deposits and payments for school fees. Despite the ease of use, households find it hard to save with banks, microfinance institutions and SACCOs.

“The accounts opened in banks and SACCOs are not frequently used and the services offered by banks or their agents are not regular” added Dr. Nzibonera.

The research team’s findings showed that financial inclusion has partly enhanced the welfare if households in Busoga.

“The study revealed improvement in income levels as a result of accessing loans from financial institutions and SACCOs. The number of school going children has also increased as a result of borrowing opportunities from SACCOs” said the PI.  

Dr. Nzibonera added that although it is easy for households to access information about financial services relevant for welfare improvement, “there is limited income to enable households gain access to good healthcare and carry out construction.”

The team therefore made the following policy recommendations;

  1. Financial and microfinance institutions should employ agents to at least every parish or sub-county to grant households easy access to financial services.
  2. Government through District commercial officers should encourage households to organise into village savings and credit cooperative organisations (SACCOs) at parish level and identify unique financial products that promote savings and investments for different groups.
  3. Government agencies such as the Micro Finance Support Centre and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) should partner with private financial institutions to organise financial literacy trainings for households on how to save as well as identify and invest in productive investment ventures.
  4. The cost of financing should be reduced to rates that are affordable by households. This will improve household income for both consumption and investment.
  5. Financial institutions should design financial products that would enable households to access funds for construction as long as there is a clear payment plan and evidence of source of income for loan repayments.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) Chairperson Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala congratulated the research team upon the successful dissemination and thanked Dr. Hisali for proposing policy labs as a means of engaging policy makers.

She urged Dr. Nzibonera as a firsthand witness on the state of financial inclusion to go beyond the policy recommendations and draft a successor project proposal on solutions that can clearly and precisely take financial inclusion at the grassroots level to the next level.

“You are the right people to guide Government on what unique product the community will get and how it will help improve their financial knowledge” she recommended.

Dr. Nkabala thanked the Government for funding research and innovations that inform national development priorities and the University Management for creating an environment conducive to conducting research. In the same breath she thanked the GMC for providing oversight and the GMC Secretariat for ensuring that the projects run smoothly.

“This is a clear example of taking the Ivory Tower to the community” she concluded.

Representing Mr. John Peter Mujuni, Executive Director, Microfinance Support Centre (MSC) and Chief Guest at the dissemination, Mr. Godfrey Mangeni thanked the research team for a job well done, and pledged take the findings and policy recommendations very seriously.

“Please share these findings so that we can work with you in other areas like Bukedi and Karomoja to improve our services” he remarked.

Mr. Mangeni shared that there still remains a lot of work to be done to support Government’s Parish Development Model in the Busoga region despite MSC’s zonal office in Jinja and a satellite office in Iganga and as such, called upon researchers from Makerere to share their expertise.

Dean of School of Business and Member of Research Team- Dr. Godfrey Akileng

Delivering the concluding remarks, Dr. Akileng in his dual capacity as Research Team member and Dean noted that Financial Inclusion is an important topical issue for national development and therefore expressed happiness that the Government had found it fitting to fund the project.

“As a nation, we need to reflect reflect on Government interventions aimed at addressing gaps of financial inclusion that financial institutions have not been able to fill” he rallied. This reflection, he said, ought to be guided by the question ‘Where have been the successes in social impact and where have been the failures?’

He noted that although Financial Technology (FINTECH) is the buzzword when it comes to improving service delivery, its success is hinged on how easy it will be for end-users at the grassroots level to adopt the various solutions offered.

“I believe that a highly informed community with the ability to easily access financial services and mobilise savings is key to the improvement of household earnings as well as boost demand and productivity in the country” he added.

In the discussion that preceded the concluding remarks, Mr. John Emoi, the Manager Investments at Uganda Development Bank who joined the conversation virtually had expressed his organisation’s keen interest in the days topic and research findings. Particularly, he had urged the research team to include the development of FINTECH models as a means of disseminating financial services among their policy recommendations.

In conclusion, Dr. Akileng called for affirmative action for business teaching institutions, “Business touches every sector and it is important to appreciate that if we must make money in any sector, we must understand business.”

Business & Management

Makerere University hosts CSAE Economic Development workshop 2023



CSAE Economic Development in Africa Workshop 2023, 27th to 30th November 2023, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University has hosted this year’s Center for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) workshop that brings together scholars across the world.

The workshop started on November 27and is expected to run up to November 30 at Makerere University Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility II (CTF).

The Center has brought together economic scholars from Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia among others to discuss how the economy of Africa can be developed through conducting research.

According to Prof Eria Hisali, the Principal of the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), they are looking at scholars doing research to the extent that it can help them to understand the problems hindering development, understanding the obstacles and finding the correct solutions to the development of the African countries.

“Researchers are presenting their research to get advice, get room for improvement and pave a way of translating the research finding into policies,” he said.

He noted that it is a great opportunity for researchers from different universities both on the African continent and outside the continent to present the work that they are doing and to understand the economies of the different countries.

This years’ conference is attended by about 40 speakers on the continent and around 10 speakers from Europe, Asia, and North America, Canada among others discussing different areas that are relevant to understanding the economies.

These include the Natural resources and environmental misuse, fiscal policies and monetary policies, agriculture, inequality and poverty and trade and structural transformation among others.

Prof Hisali said Uganda’s problems arise from her structural formation but there is need to look beyond just the physical problems like poverty and unemployment and establish the root cause of that.

“It is true we have unemployment in Uganda and we still need to grapple with issues of poverty but we need to appreciate that unemployment, poverty among others are not the primary problems, they are actually effects of certain underlying problems.  So, we want researchers to understand what explains unemployment as we see it,” he explained.

Prof Stefan Dercon, the Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford who doubles as the Director of CSAE revealed that African researchers need to improve the quality of their work and create avenues for associating with policy makers to appreciate their work for the development of their economies.

“Scholars are presenting their research and we give them feedback, share knowledge and learn from each other. A lot of research is still academic because we don’t create space for advisors. Very many economists are not good translators of research not only in Uganda but throughout the world,” he noted.

Prof Ibrahim Mike Okumu, the Dean of the School of Economics said this forum brings together scholars to discuss issues of the African economy among their colleagues who appreciate the African context saying, “They are here for quality checks. We have an opportunity to improve the quality of research papers that scholars across the African continent have developed. By improving the quality, we are trying to get authenticity, proof that the methodologies, the quality of analysis that we have is of standard and consequently we can have credibility regarding policy recommendation that will come from research papers.”

African scholars have come from Cameroon, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and Botswana among others…

He re-echoed the message from the Principal concerning the problems affecting Uganda noting that they are not unique to Uganda, she (Uganda) is just struggling with sluggish structural transformation and that is the transition from agriculture to industry which he says is the same story across Africa.

“For as long as industries are not able to create sufficient jobs, the economy cannot pick up because the industry is what moves agriculture forward and is what gives business to the service sector.  For as long as industry is not robust enough then you tend to have weak service and agricultural sectors,” he emphasized.

Dr Oluwabunmi Adejumo, a senior lecturer at Obafeemi Awolowo University in Nigeria who is conducting research on the clashes between herders and farmers from different states of the country from which over 10,000 fatalities were registered in 2020, advocates for a law of migrating herders to a separate place and stay away from farmers.

She noted that herders in Nigeria graze their cattle on the crops of farmers when the green space is exploited as a result of climate change like drying out of Lake Chad.

“I am suggesting a policy that I think will bring back sanity in Nigeria especially among herders and farmers,” she said.

This is the second time that this workshop is being held on the African continent, the first one was held in Ghana. The rest of other conferences have been held at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

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Business & Management

Makerere University to set up an agro-processing skilling hub in 2024



Left to Right: Mr. Steven Byantwale Tibeijuka who represented Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, DVCAA-Prof. Umar Kakumba, Ag. Director Internal Audit-Mr. Patrick Akonyet and Principal CAES-Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga with other officials during a tour of the exhibition at the Freedom Square, Makerere University.

Makerere University in partnership with Promote Uganda Company Limited (PROUL) is set to establish an agro-processing skilling hub next year to expose students to agricultural machinery.

The hub that will be based at Makerere University main campus in Kampala will house agricultural machines that add value to agricultural products.

While unveiling the initiative on Thursday, November 23 during the opening day of the three-day 2nd Innovation and Agro-processing machine exhibition at Makerere University’s Freedom Square, Mr David Nsubuga, the Director for PROUL said many youths remain unemployed despite their academic qualifications and it is high time they embraced new technology to create more job opportunities for the graduates. He revealed that the university will be signing a memorandum of understanding with PROUL next week.

“On top of the courses students are studying, we are going to establish a skilling center where they can be exposed to the machines that add value to agricultural products. We believe that when they start buying and selling finished agricultural products, this, will start them on the journey of industrialists.” he noted

The Vice Chancellor, represented by his deputy Prof. Umar Kakumba, revealed that the university has student innovators who just need backup funds to transform the agricultural sector.

“They have innovated machinery that can do irrigation. We are partnering with Promote Uganda Limited to showcase some of the innovations and to be able to connect them to banks which can give them credit and be able to promote their machinery that they are producing including those that do a lot with production of finished goods.” He said in a message delivered by Prof Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of academics.

Prof. Umar Kakumba (Centre) with Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga (Right) and PROUL Director-Mr. David Nsubuga (Left). Three-day 2nd Innovation and Agro-processing machines Exhibition, 23rd-25th November 2023, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Umar Kakumba (Centre) with Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga (Right) and PROUL Director-Mr. David Nsubuga (Left).

Student innovators of agricultural machinery are those pursuing degree programmes related to bioprocessing engineering, water resources engineering, dealing with mechanical engineering and students of business management sciences among others.

The 2nd innovation and Agro-processing machine expo is a three day exhibition that will run from Thursday, November 23 to Saturday, November 25.

Prof Kakumba understands 80 percent of Makerere graduates fail to get formal employment and revealed the need to inject money in such innovations to harness surging number of unemployed youth flooding the streets of Kampala looking for what to do saying, “Every year, higher institutions of learning and tertiary institutions produce about 150,000 students and yet government job slots are around 30,000 only which is a great blow to students who want white collar jobs,” he added

Mr Steven Byantwale Tibeijuka, the Director Crop Protection in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Fisheries and Industries who represented the minister for Agriculture, Mr Frank Tumwebaze pledged on behalf of the government to support the skilling hub that will be established at Makerere University next year.

“I ask the University to put it into writing and address the letter to the minister, the government cannot fail to give you funds once everything is ready,” he pledged

Dr Cathy Mbidde, the manager of the Makerere University Innovation hub said the hub was established in August 2022 under the office of the Vice Chancellor to commercialise the innovations from basically research that the university does and their main goal is to create awareness of the agro-processing machinery.

She added: “When you look at the current Uganda National Development Plan III government’s agenda goal one is agri-industrialisation. As the University, yes we do research and teach but how do we work with the private sector to achieve that goal. We have students who have done research and discovered nutritional values but they don’t have the machinery and access.”

She believes this expo will act as an eye opener to young innovators to team up and purchase the agricultural machinery they need to start up small companies and food processing enterprises while still at the university.

The Director, Makerere University Innovations Hub, Dr. Cathy Mbidde addresses the media during the press conference on 23rd March 2023.
The Director, Makerere University Innovations Hub, Dr. Cathy Mbidde.

According to her, every year Makerere University graduates around 13,000 students and they can’t find jobs anywhere so there is a need to come up with financing models through financing companies, Non-governmental organisations, and the government to help them to get machinery on credit.

Promote Uganda limited is a company that produces agricultural machinery and their partnership with the university is to introduce the idea of using machines to add value to agricultural products.

When many students graduate, they fail to get formal employment, and end up going to Arab countries where many have lost their lives.

Mr Nsubuga wants the skilling training on operation of agricultural machinery to be added to the students’ courses.   

The skilling center will help students to become entrepreneurs and know how to utilise raw materials that are readily available from agriculture to make value added products. The expo is a cross-cutting student exhibition.

Mr Anthony Akandwanaho, a student from Busitema University, said had come to exhibit a day and night dryer invented by his lecturer.

“The machine uses solar thermal during the day to dry the products which it collects directly from the sun and transpires the heat to the products for drying and solar energy during the night,” he said

He noted that this machine dries products from both animal and plant types including meat, chicken, fruits and vegetables. And the maximum drying time for products is 24 hours, for those with higher moisture content like pineapples. However, for products like meat, it dries them within eight hours.

“The unique beauty with it is that you collect the water from the product and can be used for domestic purposes.” Mr Akandwanaho explained

The student also exhibited a chicken de-feathering machine which is able to rip all feathers from the chicken. The mode of operation is that you slaughter the chicken and soak it in warm water for about one minute and transfer the chicken to the machines and in 15 seconds, the feathers are all removed. Its production rate is three chicken per minute.

Some of the exhibited machinery include a garden sprayer, a maize mill, grain grinder stainless, potato slicer, electric chips cutter, vacuum sealer, food dryer, bone Shaw, meat cutter among others.

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Business & Management

EfD Uganda Stakeholders Propose Sustainable use of Biomass



Participants in a group photo after the opening ceremony on 17th November 2023 at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.

The Inclusive Green Economy program of the Environment for Development Initiative in Uganda on 17th November hosted stakeholders across the country’s sectors to get their perspectives on biomass transition to clean energy sources in Uganda.

Uganda’s IGE engagement specialists Dr. Peter Babyenda says this is one of the work plan item on on social inclusion where stakeholders were identified by IGE fellows during the 17th EfD Annual meeting in Ghana.

IGE Engagement Specialist, Dr. Peter Babyenda addressing the stakeholders. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.
IGE Engagement Specialist, Dr. Peter Babyenda addressing the stakeholders.

In a meeting held at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, stakeholders gave the  situation analysis of biomass use in the country, where they want to go, how to go there and who should take the country there.

“We found out that almost 90% of our households depend on biomass whether  in rural areas or town. This is attributed to cultural issues where certain foods are believed to have good taste when cooked on firewood or charcoal, the fear to use electricity and gas that may result to shocks and fire explodes, inaccessibility to clean energy sources and affordability issues.”

The meeting resolved to primarily focus on behavioural change efforts of the sustainable use of biomass and gradual transitioning to clean energy sources.

Some of the participants engaged in group discussions. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the participants engaged in group discussions.

’We concluded that for now we cannot say let us move to clean energy but go slowly go slowly  on sustainable use of biomass by planting more trees so that instead of depending on natural forests, we depend on plantation forests, use energy saving  stoves and those  that can save users on effects of smoke and slowly move to clean energy sources by connecting households to electricity and make it affordable and make gas available at an affordable cost’´Babyenda said.

The meeting also proposed the need for more awareness creation about alternative energy sources such as biogas for schools and prisons.

Representing the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences,  Dr. Yawe Bruno thanked Sida through the EfD Global hub at the University of Gothenburg for funding  the IGE program and the EfD-Mak centre.

Dr. Bruno Yawe representing the Principal CoBAMS. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Bruno Yawe representing the Principal CoBAMS.

“The use of biomass in Uganda has persistently remained high. 80% use firewood and 13% charcoal for cooking but there is a proportion that use a combination of those two. This imposes great implication for household welfare.

Biomass usage affect our productivity, schooling of children, labour market participation especially by women and children. On health, the use of biomass especially firewood causes eye defects, breathing difficulties, snake bites, body dislocations and sexual abuse,” He explained.

Besides household effects, Yawe noted that reliance on biomass has effects on the environment.

One of the female participants (Right) presenting on behalf of Group One. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.
One of the female participants (Right) presenting on behalf of Group One.

Yawe reported that Uganda’s forest cover is being threatened by biomass usage reducing it from 24% in 1990 to less than 9% to date.  Transiting to renewable and clean energy requires clear understanding of supply and demand relationship for both biomass and clean energy.

“We must know what drives the uptake and while many can afford gas and electricity, why are we insisting that we should have charcoal? Comparatively,  a 6kg gas cylinder costs 60 thousand and today a bag of charcoal costs not less 70 thousand but some households find it cheaper which is expensive and because of the felling of trees, the quality of charcoal may not last more than a week,”

He challenged stakeholders to find out why the supply and demand for biomass is still high amidst detrimental effects and why the supply for clean energy is still low amidst numerous innovations.

Dr. Mike Okumu delivering the remarks. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Mike Okumu delivering the remarks.

Representing the Director EfD-Mak Center, the Dean, School of Economics Dr. Mike Okumu said many households are struggling to transition from firewood and charcoal due to socioeconomic characteristics that define them.

Okumu attributed the climate change effects to the household behaviours and enterprise behaviour and challenged stakeholders to find innovative ways of co-existing with the environment to enhance productivity and also feed communities

 He congratulated the IGE engagement specialists for being intentional in identifying the participants taking into account that the majority and poorest population resides in the rural Uganda, and Uganda’s biggest population being the youth.

One of the male participants (Right) presenting feedback from the group discussions. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.
One of the male participants (Right) presenting feedback from the group discussions.

The meeting comprised specialists in environmental conservation, researchers in renewable energy specifically biomass energy, persons dealing in innovations in sustainable productivity, those working with rural energy transition and renewable energy through use of waste plants and  animal residues and persons engaged in youth environmental initiative particularly agroforestry.

Okumu  also congratulated the EfD-Mak centre for bringing on board collaborative partners from different Ministries,  Departments and Agencies , the private sector and Civil Society organisations.

Group One discussions pinned. Makerere EfD Stakeholders Meeting, Transitioning from Biomass to Clean Energy Sources, 17th November 2023, Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Uganda, East Africa.
Group One discussions pinned.

He expressed the centre’s commitment to engage in similar engagements for purposes of having a drive into a cleaner Uganda and mitigating climate change effects on Uganda’s economy and a drive to having persons making informed decisions towards a better climate sensitive Uganda.

Jane Anyango is the Communication Officer EfD Uganda

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