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Mak Launches Public Investment Management Centre of Excellence

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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

Prof. Hisali, Prof. Yawe handover office to Prof. Bbaale, Prof. Wokadala

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In a vibrant ceremony brimming with nostalgia and optimism, College of Business and Management Sciences-Makerere University (CoBAMS) celebrated the transition of leadership from the accomplished hands of Prof. Eria Hisali and Prof. Bruno L. Yawe to the promising stewardship of Prof. Edward Bbaale and Prof. James Wokadala on Friday 31st May 2024.

The event, attended by esteemed members of the university community, including representatives from the Vice Chancellor’s office and members of the Central Management Team, was a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication that have come to define CoBAMS. The outgoing Principal, Prof. Eria Hisali, and Deputy Principal, Prof. Bruno Yawe, were lauded for their eight years of service, during which they significantly advanced the college’s academic and infrastructural capabilities.

A Legacy of Excellence

Prof. Hisali’s farewell address highlighted the numerous achievements under his leadership. He proudly noted the establishment of strategic partnerships and collaborations that have greatly benefited the college. “Our MoU with Stellenbosch University provided full PhD scholarships for four Academic Staff Members, while our partnership with Wageningen University in the Netherlands supported PhD training for two Staff Members. Additionally, the Republic of Korea’s embassy in Uganda granted three PhD scholarships,” he remarked.

Assoc Prof. Bruno Yawe (Left) handing over to incoming Deputy Principal Dr. James Wokadala.

These collaborations extended to notable institutions such as ACCA, Prudential Uganda, Addis Ababa University, The University of Rwanda, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, and the University of Dar es Salaam, reflecting CoBAMS’ commitment to internationalization and academic excellence. Prof. Hisali also mentioned the development of a Quality Assurance Framework and significant infrastructural proposals, including a new block pending government funding.

The outgoing Principal shared impressive statistics: a fivefold increase in publications from 30 in 2017 to 150 in 2023, expansion of wireless internet coverage to over 90% of the college, and a significant rise in PhD holders among the academic staff to 60%.

Prof. Yawe appreciated all the academic, administrative and support staff that supported his leadership throughout the 8 years of service.

Looking Ahead

Prof. Edward Bbaale, the incoming Principal, expressed his vision to elevate CoBAMS as a global leader in innovative teaching, research, and policy engagement. With over two decades at CoBAMS, including eight years as Dean of the School of Economics, he emphasized his commitment to continuing the progress made by his predecessors. He pledged to prioritize graduate training, faculty research, and the commercialization of innovations, alongside strategic financial initiatives such as the College Endowment Fund.

Prof. Eria Hisali receiving a token of appreciation from memebers of the Administrative Staff at MakCoBAMS.

Prof. James Wokadala, the new Deputy Principal, acknowledged the substantial achievements of the outgoing leaders and outlined his plans to build on their legacy. He aims to foster a supportive and engaging environment by establishing a gym for staff and creating a Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO).

Heartfelt Farewells and New Beginnings

The ceremony featured heartfelt speeches from various stakeholders, celebrating the contributions of Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe. Dr. Susan Namirembe Kavuma, representing the academic staff, praised the outgoing leaders for their unwavering support and urged the new administration to continue fostering a conducive environment for teaching and learning. Ms. Caroline Nanono Jjingo, on behalf of the administrative staff, echoed these sentiments, appreciating the open and inspirational leadership style of Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe. “Throughout their tenure, they have resonated the words of Henry Ross Perot, who said that “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.”  She said.

Outgoing Principal Eria Hisali and outgoing Deputy Principal Bruno Yawe cut cake.

The Deputy University Secretary, Mr. Simon Kizito, provided sage advice to the incoming leaders, emphasizing the importance of openness to feedback, leading by example, and maintaining accountability. He reminded them that failure is an inevitable part of leadership and encouraged them to learn from it while prioritizing self-care.

On their part, the support staff appreciated the outgoing leadership for their open door policy and willingness to support all staff especially those experiencing life challenges. Quoting Ecclesiastes 3:1, Mr Joseph Ikarokot said there was a season for everything and staff were privileged to have worked with the duo.

A Promising Future

As the new leadership team embarks on their journey, they carry forward a legacy of excellence and a vision for a brighter future. With their extensive experience and commitment to innovation and collaboration, Prof. Bbaale and Prof. Wokadala are well-positioned to steer CoBAMS toward greater achievements and global recognition.

The ceremony concluded with a celebratory cake-cutting, gifts from the administrative staff, and a reaffirmation of the college’s enduring spirit of unity and progress. The new era at CoBAMS promises continued growth and success, building on the solid foundation laid by Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe.

Some of the staff memebers who were present at the handover ceremony.

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Business & Management

CoBAMS Annual Report 2023

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Professor Eria Hisali, Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS). Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The overall objective of our operations and strategy is to position the College as a relevant and sustainable institution of international standing with high caliber staff, an active presence in public policy research and formulation, and contribution to the community. This report highlights the main activities that have taken place over the year 2023 in fulfillment of the College’s objective.

Strategic initiatives

The College continued to pursue plans to expand and remodel its infrastructure facilities. The Feasibility Study for the proposed infrastructure expansion and remodeling project got approval of the Development Committee of the Government of Uganda in March 2023. A budget code for the project was assigned to the project shortly afterwards. Engagements are underway to secure funding for the project starting the 2024/2025 financial year.

The College also continued to strengthen its Endowment Fund. Fifty million shillings was added to the Fund over the course of the year and an exercise to reconcile the amount of money held on the Main Endowment Fund of the University was embarked on. We still await an opportunity for the formal launch of the Fund to pave the way for a more structured capital campaign.

Teaching and learning

The College took steps to strengthen its quality assurance framework. The College established a Quality Assurance Committee to oversee the quality of its operations across the Board. It also embarked in automation of workflow processes in the administrative and support functions. The College also continued to support student led discussion groups and engaged Graduate Fellows at each of its Departments.

Three thousand new students took up programs at the College in the course of the year while the College presented one thousand six hundred sixty eight candidates for graduation.

The CoBAMS Library continued to subscribe to The Economist & Harvard Business Review magazines – both the print & electronic versions. The Library also acquired 366 Titles and 395 copies of textbooks purchased and delivered from the Book Bank; and 26 titles & 41 copies of textbooks purchased by the College.

Brand visibility

The quality of programmes and staff are ranked highly. Students on the Master of Arts Degree in Economics emerged the best performing of the seven premier universities on the continent at the Joint Facility for Electives (JFE). This program is run on a collaborative arrangement where students take core courses at their universities for one academic year after which the elective courses are taught jointly. Staff from the College served as visiting lecturers and external examiners at other institutions. Staff from the college produced over 200 new publications and facilitated at various panel discussions and policy dialogues.

Collaborations, partnerships and grants

The College concluded a Memorandum of understanding with the Human Resource Management Association of Uganda (HRMAU), which aims to train prospective HR practitioners on professional conduct to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

The School of Economics collaborated with the University of Oxford to host the 2023 workshop on Economic Development in Africa. The four-day workshop brought together scholars across Africa, Europe, and North America. Thirty one frontier papers on Economic Development in Africa were presented cutting across, Trade, Health, Natural Resources and Environment, Political Economy, Poverty, Productivity, Fiscal & Monetary Policy, and Agriculture among others. Staff and graduate students had parallel training sessions on Survey Design and Data Collection for Gender Analysis (Lead by Cheryl Doss, Tufts University), Introduction to Structural Transformation and Growth (Lead by Douglas Gollin, University of Oxford and Tufts University, and Joe Kaboski, University of Notre Dame), and Randomised Control Trials (Lead by Clare Hofmeyr, J-PAL Africa). Faculty from the University of Tufts and the University of Notre Dame are exploring the possibility of teaming up with faculty at MakSOE to support Macroeconomics at the PhD level. This could extend to supervising PhD research within the space of structural transformation. The funding is likely to be from Structural Transformation and Economic Growth (STEG) of which the two persons I met are the principals behind STEG. The CSAE committed to partnering with MakSOE to offer demand-driven policy advice to GoU and to continue mentoring young faculty and graduate students who are keen to climb the research radar.

The College also collaborated with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Uganda to undertake consultations for 2023 Human Development Report.

The College also got additional exemptions from ACCA Global for the Bachelor of Commerce students. Going forward, students graduating with the Bachelor of Commerce Accounting Option will get nine of the 13 courses required for full ACCA qualification.

The College hosted a breakfast meeting with a section of government agencies to deliberate on areas of mutual interest. This has resulted in MoUs with the Uganda Manufacturer’s Association, the Uganda Revenue Authority and the Kampala Capital City Authority. These initiatives will create platforms through which the parties will among other things:

  • pursue joint research, publishing research findings, write background policy papers, and promote outreach to the relevant state and non-state actors;
  • collaborate on knowledge transfer & staff exchange programs to impart more practical skills on both parties;
  • organize and participate in joint activities such as seminars, workshops and conferences aimed at imparting practical skills, knowledge transfer and re-tooling; and,
  • collaborate on the review and development of the CoBAMS curriculum to reflect more practical/workplace content for students.

This was in addition to a number of outreach activities that were undertaken by various Centers housed at the College. The Entrepreneurship and Innovations Center for example equipped PDM beneficiaries in Makerere North and Katanga with a range of skills in the areas of bookkeeping, marketing, financial management, etc. The Public Investment Management Center has over the course of the year trained over 120 public officials in various aspects of public investment management ranging from ideation and conceptualization to the more advanced economic and financial analysis of public investment projects. The Environment for Development Center undertook seven outreach activities in different parts of the country and organized three policy dialogues on climate change and the environment. The School of Statistics and Planning also cohosted an international conference on “Aging and Health of Older Persons in Sub-Saharan Africa’ in February 2023.

Researchers at the College won six new institutional research grants, and one staff member developed a new academic concept, which is currently under the process of patenting and copyrighting at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. The College is also leading the process of the PDM Policy Labs and there are ongoing discussions with the Office of the Prime Minister to convert recommendations of the studies into policy actions.

Human resources capacity development and strengthening

Seventeen Colleagues were promoted to various ranks in the University service in the course of the year 2023. The College provided seven (05) in-house capacity development programs for the support and administrative staff and an orientation of newly appointed staff. Fifteen academic staff members are currently pursing doctorate degrees. Seven staff members acquired PhD qualifications while ten were promoted to various ranks in the University Service. The College also received eight new staff in the course of the year.

Team building sessions were organized for the Schools of Economics and Business, but at which strategic direction of the schools was deliberated. The College leadership organized a retreat to deliberate on the strategic human resources and quality assurance issues as a basis for shaping the future of the College.

Financing

In as much as resources are insufficient and a number of facilities require improvement, all outstanding financial obligations were offset in a timely manner.

Conclusion

I want to thank all my colleagues at the College, and the Management and Council, and indeed all our stakeholders. These milestones have been only possible because of all of you. We look forward to maintaining an environment where we can continue to aim higher and do more together.

Eria Hisali (PhD)
PRINCIPAL

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Makerere signs MoU with Leading Universities in East Africa

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In a historic move aimed at revolutionizing postgraduate education and research across East Africa, Makerere University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with five prominent universities. The agreement, formalized on May 24, 2024 brings together the University of Addis Ababa (AAU), the University of Rwanda (UR), Makerere University (Mak), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and Jönköping University, Sweden.

The newly established collaboration seeks to address critical institutional constraints that have hindered the development of high-quality postgraduate programs. These constraints include a shortage of senior researchers and professors available for supervision, as well as limited funding for research. By pooling resources and expertise, the partnership aims to overcome these challenges and significantly improve the quality of postgraduate education and research output within the member institutions.

While signing the MoU on behalf of Makerere University, The Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Umar
Kakumba emphasized the importance of leveraging collective strengths to enhance academic
excellence and research impact. He also expressed optimism that the collaboration will create
new opportunities for faculty and students to engage in cutting-edge research and contribute to addressing pressing societal challenges.

In Makerere University, the MoU will be implemented by the Departments of Policy and
Development Economics, School of Economics. The signing was witnessed by the Director of International Development Collaboration, at Jönköping University, Lars Hartvigson. He said his institution had been collaborating with the different universities and now sought to make this collaboration a joint venture between the six institutions.

Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Umar Kakumba(3rd L) handing over the signed agreement to Dr. Susan Namirembe Kavuma, Head of Department -Policy and Development Economics. Extreme Left is Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike, the Dean of School of Economics.

Goals and Expected Outcomes

The overarching goal of this partnership is to enhance understanding of management and
economic sciences, equipping leaders in public and private sectors with the skills necessary to
drive national and regional growth and development. Specific objectives include:

  • Improving the quality of teaching and supervision in postgraduate programs.
  • Increasing research output among faculty members.
  • Enhancing the utilization of research findings by policymakers in both the public and private sectors.

To achieve these objectives, the partnership has outlined a series of activities, including:

  • Staff exchanges for teaching and supervision roles in postgraduate programs.
  • Student exchanges to participate in training offered by the member universities.
  • Joint research projects and publications.
  • Collaborative research dissemination through conferences and workshops.
  • External examination of PhD and master’s courses by faculty from partner institutions.
  • Capacity-building seminars for staff.
  • Development and delivery of customized short courses.
  • Information exchange on research opportunities and publications.
  • Joint grant proposal writing aligned with the partnership’s objectives.

A Unified Vision for Regional Development
Prof. Eria Hisali, the Principal Of the College of Business and Management Sciences, emphasized the significance of this partnership: “This MoU marks a pivotal moment for higher
education in East Africa. By leveraging our collective strengths, we aim to create a robust
educational framework that not only elevates academic standards but also fosters socio-economic development across the region.”
The partnership is poised to create a dynamic and integrated educational ecosystem, promoting excellence in research and higher education. As the universities embark on this collaborative journey, they set a precedent for regional cooperation and intellectual advancement, ultimately contributing to the broader goals of national and regional development.

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