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Business & Management

Mak Launches Public Investment Management Centre of Excellence



The Public Investment Management (PIM) Centre of Excellence, housed at the College of Business and Management Sciences was on March 10, 2022, launched during the Public Investment Management Open Day held at Makerere University. The launch and Open Day were presided over by Mr. Ashaba Hannington, the Commissioner Projects Analysis and Public Investment Department, who represented the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija.

The center, with funding from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK government (FCDO) through the World Bank, is expected to build capacity of officers involved in management of public investments. The launch of the center was preceded by an Open Day themed “promoting good practices in managing public investments to raise returns”.

The Centre of Excellence awarded certificates to 26 trainees from various government agencies, following a rigorous training in Financial and Risk Analysis.

Prof. Eria Hisali, the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University.
Prof. Eria Hisali, the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University.

In a quest to strengthen public investment management, the government of Uganda through the World Bank Group and Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK Government (FCDO) Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), have supported Implementation of the National Development Plans with interventions carried out through at least seven government institutions. The interventions aimed to strengthen institutions, build technical capacity for relevant government officers, and develop decision making tools including relevant strategies, policies and guidelines, in line with the theory of change and having more efficient and effective systems for public investment management that will ultimately increase the returns on investments and thereby promoting faster growth and the country’s capacity to manage its debt. 

In his opening remarks, Professor Eria Hisali the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) who represented Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe the Makerere University Vice Chancellor highlighted how 0.6 of every dollar invested is lost hence the need for capacity building and research amongst government institutions to maximize returns. “Having done this we shall have created a huge data bank for policy makers, it is our sincere hope that then all government projects will be subjected to public scrutiny of our center so that we enhance productivity of our public investment”, added Prof Hisali. He extended the University’s appreciation to the World Bank and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK Government (FCDO) through UKaid for the tremendous financial support rendered in establishing the PIM Centre of Excellence.

Ms. Mukami Kariuki, the World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.
Ms. Mukami Kariuki, the World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.

On behalf of the World Bank, Ms. Mukami Kariuki, the World Bank Country Manager for Uganda said that such policies help to provide economic stimulus and enhance the stock of public assets even in the times of crisis like the Covid 19 pandemic, which can contribute to the achievement of the long-term development goals of growth and development and poverty reduction.

Ms. Kariuki reiterated how clear it is that high levels of investment cannot yield returns if the quality of projects remains poor and that it should take government and stakeholders high efforts in combating such a big challenge through favorable policies and considerable reforms.

She commended the Government of Uganda for aiming at building capacity of government officials and other stakeholders, and developing decision making tools to increase return on investment thereby promoting more rapid growth.

Dr. Willy Kagarura (L) receives Prof. Eria Hisali at the PIM CoE Exhibition Booth during the Open Day.
Dr. Willy Kagarura (L) receives Prof. Eria Hisali at the PIM CoE Exhibition Booth during the Open Day.

“We are happy to witness the progress made on strengthening the ‘gate-keeping’ role of the Ministry of Finance. Through tapping into technology, the Government of Uganda has developed the Integrated Bank of Projects, an online information portal to streamline preparation, appraisal, and monitoring of execution of public projects,” said Ms. Kariuki. “The World Bank will further engage the government on its Public Investment Management (PIM) agenda, especially on strengthening its PIM policy and regulatory framework, and a financing strategy to manage public debt and ensure a return on investment”.

She closed off by asking government to focus on demonstrating value for money of public investments, building capacity of ministries and its officials and other implementing agencies in project preparation, reserving resources to facilitate implementation of feasibility studies during the pre-investment stage and   formulating a policy framework for public investment management to allow the public scrutinize such investments.

Jordan Martindale who represented FCDO and the British High Commission.
Jordan Martindale who represented FCDO and the British High Commission.

Jordan Martindale who represented the FCDO and British High Commission highlighted the importance of Public Investment scrutiny as a business to every tax payer. She said the systems underlying the appraisal, implementation and monitoring of these projects need to be strengthened.

“It has been great partnering with Government with Uganda as they increase their ability to effectively deliver improved Public Investment Management.  Delivering government’s investment pipeline in a manner that offers value for money, timely delivery and the attainment of development outcomes is crucial for achieving the National Development Plan III goals. The UK’s investment of Ush 42.3 billion over the past 5 years has led to evident efficiency gains including an improvement in the capital spending absorption rate which has risen from 60% in 2017 to 86% in 2021, a 4-fold increase in the use of Cost Benefit Analysis to assess projects submitted for approval into the Public Investment Plan, and the successful leveraging of about $600 million in additional development finance,’’ Jordan Martindale, said.

While launching the Public Investment Management (PIM) Center of Excellence, Mr. Ashaba Hannington on behalf of Hon. Matia Kasaija said the theme for the open day was in line with the government strategy for Economic Development through strengthening the country’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and  hopes to achieve it all through the implementation of the Nation Development Plans.

Mr. Ashaba Hannington cuts the ribbon to ribbon to mark the launch of the PIM CoE at the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2), Makerere University.
Mr. Ashaba Hannington cuts the ribbon to ribbon to mark the launch of the PIM CoE at the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2), Makerere University.

“Through this reform agenda, the Government has improved her processes including improvement on screening projects before admission in the public investment plan, decrease in number of non-performing projects, accountability on finances through verifiable output and improvement in mechanism of entry and exit of projects from the public investment plan” he said.

Commissioner Ashaba thanked the funders, implored them for more support and pledged government’s support for the Center to ensure successful implementation of government interventions including the newly launched Parish Develop Model.

Professor Edward Bbaale, the Dean School of Economics and the Principal Investigator of the Center of Excellence said the center looks at building capacity amongst trainers to effectively deliver standardized PIM content, and conducting short courses to improve the country’s capacity in PIM. The Centre also aims at offering professional support as an independent external evaluator to the development committee of Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and carrying out research towards improving the PIM framework in Uganda.

Prof. Edward Bbaale, Dean School of Economics, CoBAMS and Principal Investigator of the PIM Centre of Excellence.
Prof. Edward Bbaale, Dean School of Economics, CoBAMS and Principal Investigator of the PIM Centre of Excellence.

He therefore thanked the World Bank and the UK government for the grant, and the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Department of Project Analysis for the support. Prof. Bbaale equally thanked the Makerere University Management particularly the Office of the Vice Chancellor for offering space to house the PIM center of Excellence, as well as CoBAMS fraternity and Cambridge resources international for the support and collaboration.

About eight government institutions showcased innovations and research findings from the grant given by the World Bank and FCDO among which included the PIM Center of Excellence that disseminated research findings on the impact of Covid-19 on public investment management in Uganda and the impact evaluation of the Uganda clean cooking supply chain expansion project that focuses on households’ access to cleaner cooking technologies and the Impact of the Luwero Rwenzori Development Program. The National Planning Authority exhibited their building planning capacity for spatial data and greater Kampala metropolitan Area while the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PDDA) showcased the Electronic Government Procurement system that enables disposal and procurement of public supplies, works and services through the internet.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) showcased its contact center upgrade with voice and chat infrastructure containing interactive video response and incident management to enhance simplicity to clientele and innovations in revenue mobilization. The Uganda Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development exhibited its program that focuses on readying the country for actualization of shared infrastructure corridor and physical development plans operationalization.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries exhibited the UgIFT Micro-scale irrigation program, an intensified solar sprinkler system offered at a subsidized price to empower farmers while the Office of the Prime Minister showcased its Enhancement of Productivity, Accountability and Knowledge Systems for Improved Public Investment Outcomes in Education and Health Project.

The newly launched PIM Center for Excellence is equipped with high-tech IT equipment and videoconferencing technologies to support training.

Business & Management

Makerere University hosts CSAE Economic Development workshop 2023



Left to Right: Prof. Eria Hisali, Dr. Ibrahim Mike Okumu and Prof Stefan Dercon at the CSAE Economic Development Workshop held 27th to 30th November at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, 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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