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17 Government Fisheries officials skilled on Bio-Economics of Fisheries Management

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Seventeen (17) fisheries experts from the Uganda’s districts of Kampala, Mukono, Masaka. Wakiso  and Jinja have been retooled on the bio-economics of fisheries management . The two days training (15th-16th March 2023) held at Makerere University was facilitated by Africa’s and Ghanaian renowned Professor of environmental economics, Wisdom Akpalu.

Prof. Wisdom was invited by the EfD-Mak centre to come and provide training on bio-economics of fisheries management to fisheries officers in Uganda.  Prof. Wisdom is the centre Director of EfD Ghana but also the member of the coordination committee of the entire EfD Network and member of the capacity development committee of the EfD Network but also, the leader of the Blue resources for development- a collaborative program within the EfD Network where fisheries fall.

Prof. Wisdom Akpalu highlighting the importance of fisheries sector.
Prof. Wisdom Akpalu highlighting the importance of fisheries sector.

Government fisheries officials were retooled on different aspects including  the cost, revenue and profit in fisheries economics, growth functions in fisheries, property rights and resources extraction, policy instruments to regulate overfishing. Other aspects were dynamic equilibrium and the concept of shadow value, destructive fishing practices, resource use externalities and the performance of capture fisheries in Africa.

The training was officially opened by the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali who congratulated the centre Director for organizing this training and other initiatives adding that, they are important because they add to our visibility as a a college  and university and it also takes us to the government and other agencies out there.

Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali making his remarks.
Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali making his remarks.

Prof. Hisali noted that Fisheries and fish related products are among and still remain among the five leading exports from Uganda while  Africa is one of the two continents where the big  proportion of the population still lives directly of the fishing activities and Natural resources in general.

“Our concern then, is the way these activities are being undertaken is not sustainable we risk depleting these resources because of population pressure, and unsustainable practices and once that happens it threatens our existence of our continent but also as countries because if we deplete resources and yet we are living directly of the same, then everyone should be starting to imagine what will happen.

A section of fisheries officers attending the training.
A section of fisheries officers attending the training.

What will happen is untold suffering but also direct conflict for the little resources that would have remained and disintegration of countries and societies” he decried

The Principal challenged all participants to look at the strategic importance of the lessons to be undertaken in the two days

“This intervention that the center is undertaking to share insights on how best we can sustainably use these resources becomes very important for the very  survival of our countries. I want you to look at this training as a very important one because it speaks of the very basis of our survival as a country and continent”, Prof. Hisali stressed.

A section of participants attending the training.
A section of participants attending the training.

Prof. Hisali advised participants to form a network which should go deeper into ideas given by Prof. Wisdom, contextualize them and ensure they are fully applicable  to the Ugandan situation and begin influencing sustainable practices and  policy.

“Some civil servants at your level tend to under look themselves. You are extremely powerful and you can influence so many things. So go with that confidence and come up with suggestions that are practical, make sense and that can be implemented.

As a university and specifically the center, Hisali pledged full availability to work closely with the fisheries experts and to convene in case they have ideas to work through the nitty gritties and contribute own insights .Prof. Hisali also pledged that the university will equally be available  in terms of  creating  platforms for the works that fisheries experts do  to engage wth policy makers.

Another group of fisheries officials attending the training.
Another group of fisheries officials attending the training.

As they integrate lessons and experiences and insights, and as they develop materials for policy advocacy, the principal implored participants to get back to working places and pass on  the message to build capacity in institution to have a critical mass of public servants and members of the community  who have a different perspective on the way of handling natural resources and understanding the implications of  mismanagement of resources.

“History will judge extremely harshly if we don’t take the necessary actions today to ensure that the next generation of the people in our continent live a better and more meaningful life”

The Principal thanked Prof. Wisdom Akpalu for making time to come to Uganda and Makerere University in particular to share the  knowledge,  skills and experiences from Ghana, expressing the need for opening up to share cross country comparisons to learn from one another on the  basis of areas with commonalities.

Knowledge on the biology and economics of fisheries management critical for practitioners.

Prof. Wisdom Akpalu observed that Africa has  very few people who have the expertise in combining the biology and economics of fisheries management which has made fisheries management difficult and unattractive because decision makers usually want to hear about money, stocks have declined, how to improve stocks and  how much can be got if stocks are improved, the social economic implications when stocks are improved and cost involved.

Prof. Akpalu teaching fisheries officials on day one.
Prof. Akpalu teaching fisheries officials on day one.

So, by bringing the biology and economics together one is able to paint a much better picture that is more appreciated by policy makers.

“The message is clear. We cannot manage what do not know. We cannot manage if we do not have some level of technical knowledge of how the fisheries operate and it is not sufficient to just have  knowledge of the biology of fish the size, movement  etc”, Wisdom stated.

Wisdom described Fisheries as an interesting area because it has so many dimensions that requires one to understand both the biology that is, how the fish grows, the thresholds in nature that you cannot harvest beyond a certain threshold or else the stock can collapse. And then you have to add the dimension of economics that when these fishes  are harvested, they are harvested for economic and social reasons,  as a source of food and also sold in the market that  brings in the issue of cost, revenue and  how does these influence the way we manage the resource.

Prof. Akpalu interacts with participants during an exercise on day one.
Prof. Akpalu interacts with participants during an exercise on day one.

“By providing them this knowledge, they now have a better sense of how to bring the knowledge in the biology and economics together to distinguish between concepts such as maximum sustainable yield which is the maximum quantity of fish that we can catch  on a yearly basis and maximum economic yield  which is the quantity to catch to generate the highest economic benefit.

Usually, the maximum economic yield may be lower than the maximum sustainable yield which means to make a lot of money, or to make   the highest possible profit from the fisheries,  you may have to deploy a lesser  level of effort than  you are aiming to catch the maxim you can catch on a yearly basis for  society to consume”. The professor explained.

Prof. Wisdom Akpalu gives participants an exercise on day two.
Prof. Wisdom Akpalu gives participants an exercise on day two.

He further explained that sometimes the biology will recommend catching up to maxim yield but, the economics may recommend to restrict the catch because when you catch all, the profits you make is lower.  If you reduce the catch at a lower level, other things have to come in, the social consideration, whether fishing for profit or other reason and how to incorporate those reasons in the basic model so as to appreciate things beyond economic gains or pure profits from economics.

Prof. Wisdom commended the participants for the active participation and ability to grasp the subject matter.

“I have been quite impressed.  When I was coming, I knew they were going to be faculty graduate students etc. Only to see practitioners, people who were in the field doing fisheries work . I was wondering whether they are a cut for a course like this. But to my surprise, with all the concepts that I had to go through they were very comfortable.

“They showed the clear understanding of the concept and they were looking for more and when I gave exercises they did it clearly and gave me the answers. It has been quiet impressive and it shows that they have potential and the zeal, they have the interest and they will put what they have learnt to practice”. He appreciated.

Prof. Wisdom training Fisheries Officials on day two.
Prof. Wisdom training Fisheries Officials on day two.

Prof. Wisdom encourage the university to continue with this type of collaboration adding that the EfD Network  within the continent has a lot expertise and potential that can be harnessed  for the benefit of  individual countries  and the continent.

“With this type of interaction we share knowledge and  sometimes we tend to undervalue this knowledge that we share but I  believe that if we have to change things for  better for the continent, we  have to begin to make use of  our expertise and experiences  in a platform like this.

Today, it is bio-economics of fisheries management and next time it should be something also relevant for the continent This was a very good positive initiative, I applaud the university and encourage them to continue” He said.

Prof. Wisdom Akpalu gives Fisheries Officials an exercise on day two.
Prof. Wisdom Akpalu gives Fisheries Officials an exercise on day two.

Namaganda Ruth, the Fisheries officer from Mukono District Local Government said:

“The training was very productive to me in that being on the frontline of managing the fisheries, it gives you a clear picture of how you can predict and advise fishermen as  the primary beneficiaries of the resource. At the district level, when policies are being developed, we can guide the technical officers, our superiors and politicians on how to effectively manage the resources.

If possible, the centre should organize more  training in other aspects of natural resources because management is so diverse”.

Maganda Moses is the Senior Environmental Officer from Jinja District Local Government. He said:

“The training was very good. Much of what we are missing in government is attaching an economic value to what we do. We do not have those basics of  making those estimates and calculations. But at least now, I have an idea of what I can do in case they need such information or data. The training was on how we can collect data on a particular resource of the fisheries sector.

So it  was a very good training only that the training period of two days was inadequate and probably  and we need further training in that, and even those who did not benefit from this, it would be good to introduce them to such training so that they are equipped with skills of generating  data in the fisheries sector”.

Importance of the Fisheries sector

Fisheries according to Prof. Wisdom plays a key role in our social economic social being world over and on the continent. In Ghana, for example about 60% of the animal protein needed comes from fisheries and this because the other types of animal protein are either unavailable, scarce or expensive. So a lot of people derive that requirement from fish.

The same applies in Uganda, where people would have loved to eat fish but because fish is not readily available. So that fact that we have less than 10%  of animal protein from fish, is not that people do not like fish but because it is outside the reach of the majority of people.

On the other hand, Wisdom asserts that fisheries are resources that if properly managed they can last forever but then these fisheries are over capitalized and over fished  in Ghana and Uganda. So, the fisheries sector is extremely important for job create employing a huge number of the population, giving animal protein requirement,.

“Fisheries products provides foreign exchange because a lot of  money is spent through foreign exchange in Uganda through Nile perch  processing and export .So the sector is critical and beyond just being important even the value alone to the fish that is harvested is about 2.1% of the Ugandan GDP and that is why it was important for the government officials to be retooled”. Prof. Wisdom explained.

Key issues affecting the fisheries sector

Prof. Wisdom noted that the fisheries sector both in Ghana and Uganda are  troubled with so many challenges . One of those is over-capitalization where there are too many vessels, canoes, boats and that has to be reduced. There is also lack of proper management and so much competition for stocks from different sub-sectors that is leading to over exploitation of stock.

There is use of all sorts of destructive methods because there is competition for stock as fisher men tend to think that they can use other illegal means to be able to catch more fish. Some use explosive dynamites, small size nets, small filament nets which are all over the places posing a serious challenge within the industry.

 But most importantly there is lack of knowledge and capacity to be able to appreciate the impact of all problems on the stocks, harvest, profits and gains that generated from these resources.

Key policy interventions Uganda can emulate from Ghana

From the discussions and interactions with the fisheries experts,  Prof. Wisdom noted that Ghana and Uganda it appears  have similar challenges including  over capacity in the fishing activities taking place, low political and  foreign interests in the fisheries sector with foreigners coming in to compete with locals.

In Ghana,  Wisdom said, there are areas dedicated to  small scale fishing and the   aim is to secure livelihoods of poor people living along coastal communities, with specific  marked spaces that are reserved for  local fishermen so that they can have some catch.

Uganda can learn that Ghana has demarcated where and what locals and foreigners can fish.

“We should also priorities local fishermen viz-a-viz foreign vessels and if possible impose enough taxes on the foreign vessels and use those taxes to take care of local fishermen. We realized that we can gain efficiency by allowing foreign vessels to fish species that local people find difficult to catch and make sure we get taxes that can support local fishing industry so that  local fishermen are not denied their basic livelihoods.

Ghana according Prof. Wisdom has clauses and policies where within specific areas fishermen are not supposed to fish to allow the stocks to recover. From the discussion with the fisheries officials, Uganda also did it   once or twice but has not done it for some time. It is time for Uganda to revisit and try to implement this policies because there are clear ecological benefits and improvement in catches of fisher folks.

Although Uganda has marine police like in Ghana, Ghana in addition has other established local institutions. There is what is called, “landing beach enforcement committee” where local  people constitute themselves into enforcement units and they are able to control some of the illegal practices about fisher folks that Uganda can learn from.

Prof. Wisdom teaching on the marine sector in Ghana.
Prof. Wisdom teaching on the marine sector in Ghana.

Ghana as explained by Prof. Wisdom has a strong collaboration between research, academia and policy makers working at the ministries and then, the stakeholders the fisher folks and civil society organizations. That platform he advised should be encouraged to be created  so that it will not be one sided decision, it  will be a platform where researchers, fisher folks, civil society organizations and the ministries can always come together to discuss issues of common interest.

Ghana has also established the scientific and technical committee of the Fisheries commission compromising stakeholders such as people from academia who identify and investigate issues for discussion and advise the commission to implement issues observed and Uganda can learn from this.

In Ghana’s fishing communities, there is what they call, “the fish queens or mummies”. These are women who take key roles in post-harvest activities and the fish queen is the leader of women engaged in fish processing and trading  and typically, they are the ones who determine the pricing of fish. When the fisher folks come from the sea, they observe the catches of a few vessels like the first three canoes and are able to tell what the supply of the day would be and that guides them to determine the price per measure would be and they announce that price and every fisherman that comes has to sell at that price. So they play that key role of determining the price of fish and all fishermen on that day obey that particular price.

Prof. Bbaale speaking to participants during the training.
Prof. Bbaale speaking to participants during the training.

In Ghana, the fisheries industry especially the artisanal vessels are supposed to be Ghanaian. The semi-industrial vessels are also supposed to be owned by Ghanaians and including  industrial trawlers are also supposed to be owned by Ghanaians. But because the Ghanaian  don’t have the capacity to own the trawlers, they go into a hire purchase agreement and the agreement tends to be rooted in corruption. Those who claim to have hired the vessels do it on behalf of foreigners who disguise as experts on how to manage vessels but are the true beneficiaries. At the end of the day they end up catching the fish they are not supposed to and make a lot of money. So there are Vessel Monitoring Systems that are installed on vessels to monitor and track them and to know where exactly they are operating.

Prof. Wisdom says he has been recommending installation of video devices so that the activities can be watched at a distance so that they can be regulated better and avoid exploitation. By installing video devices on boats and vessels that target big species like the Nile perch to monitor them, the benefits cost will be 21 to 1.

Remarks by the Director EfD-Mak centre 

Prof. Edward Bbaale welcomed participants to Makarere University and the EfD Centre. In a special way, Prof. Bbaale thanked the visiting professor for moving all the way  from Ghana to come and facilitate the workshop.

Prof. Edward Bbaale addressing participants during one of the sessions.
Prof. Edward Bbaale addressing participants during one of the sessions.

Bbaale also extended appreciation to the university management and the Principal CoBAMS for facilitating and overseeing the center’s operations.

He thanked participants for making time to come to Makerere saying, they were selected because they were instrumental in their duty station assuring them that the training will focus on what they do at their places of work.

Prof. Bbaale assured participants that none of the participants was selected by Makerere but letters were write to their bosses who selected them. He said by the end of the training, they would have changed the way they perceived things and the way they would want to go deeper into bio economics of fisheries management.

He assured participants that the facilitator  is one of the best environmental economists  in Africa.

“We have a person that has invested a lot of time in the work for which he is sharing with us. He has had a lot of experience working with international organizations before he came back to work with a university in Ghana and also to established the EfD centre in Ghana”

Prof. Edward Bbaale speaking to participants during the closing ceremony.
Prof. Edward Bbaale speaking to participants during the closing ceremony.

He thanked Prof. Wisdom for creating this collaboration saying, the center is developing capacity in different areas and would be glad to visit Ghana and share the experiences.

 “Uganda is an agricultural country and the government officers you see here are very few compared to the need that we have, that means that may be another time we shall invite you for another cohort because here, are people from the ministry of agriculture, environmental police, and colleagues from different local governments from different districts.  It means that to have lasting impact we must require that we have several rounds of this nature”, Bbaale added.

Prof. Wisdom Akpalu

 Prof. Wisdom is the Centre Director of EfD Ghana but also the member of the coordination committee of the entire EfD Network and member of the capacity development committee of the EfD Network but importantly, the leader of the Blue resources for development- a collaborative program within the EfD Network where fisheries is. He obtained a PhD in economics from the University of Gothenburg Sweden 2006. He is currently Dean, of the School of Research and Graduate Studies at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. Prof Wisdom is also the President of the African Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in Africa. His research focuses on social economics of natural resource management including fisheries management, economics of crime and punishment and economic institutions.

Business & Management

Economics Students and Research Fellows from Environment for Development, Makerere University Donate 2,000 Tree Seedlings to Masaka District Local Government

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Dr. John Seruyange and Mr. Jordan Semwanga, with Ms. Juliet Najjumba, the Principal Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr. Kabugo Denis Paul, the Senior Assistant CAO, and Ms. Rose Nakyejjwe, the District Natural Resources Officer, Students and Research Fellows at Masaka District Local Government (DLG) headquarters. Students from Economics program at the College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, in conjunction with Research Fellows from Environment for Development (EfD), Makerere University donation of 2,000 tree seedlings to Masaka District Local Government (DLG), 14th June 2024.

Students from Economics program at the College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University in conjunction with Research Fellows from Environment for Development (EfD), Makerere University, have today June 14, 2024 made a significant contribution to restoration of Uganda’s forest cover by donating 2,000 tree seedlings to Masaka DLG. The submission of the trees was held at the district office premises and was attended by notable officials and School of Economics faculty members.

Leading the students were their lecturers, Dr. John Seruyange and Mr. Jordan Semwanga, who emphasized the importance of environmental stewardship. The tree seedlings were officially received by Ms. Juliet Najjumba, the Principal Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), along with Mr. Kabugo Denis Paul, the Senior Assistant CAO, and Ms. Rose Nakyejjwe, the District Natural Resources Officer.

Dr. John Seruyange with students and research fellows assist Mr. Kabugo Denis Paul plant a tree. Students from Economics program at the College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, in conjunction with Research Fellows from Environment for Development (EfD), Makerere University donation of 2,000 tree seedlings to Masaka District Local Government (DLG), 14th June 2024.

In addition to the handover, students participated in planting some of the trees at the district offices, symbolizing their hands-on commitment to combating climate change. This donation is part of the students’ annual campaign to promote environmental sustainability, an initiative strongly supported by the Environment for Development (EfD) Centre at the college.

Dr. Seruyange highlighted the dual purpose of the event: “Our goal is not only to provide tangible support to Masaka DLG forest reforestation efforts but also to inspire a culture of environmental responsibility among our students and the broader community.”

He added, “through this initiative, we aim to demonstrate the practical application of economic principles in addressing global challenges such as environmental destruction and climate change. It is a testament to our commitment to nurturing well-rounded graduates who are equipped to make a positive impact in the world.”

Students from Economics program at the College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, in conjunction with Research Fellows from Environment for Development (EfD), Makerere University donation of 2,000 tree seedlings to Masaka District Local Government (DLG), 14th June 2024.

Ms. Najjumba expressed her gratitude for the donation, stating, “These seedlings will greatly contribute to our efforts to enhance green spaces in Masaka. We are thankful to the students and faculty of Makerere University for their continued support and partnership.”

Mr Kabugo called on the students to do an annual monitoring and evaluation of the donations to see if the trees were indeed planted and what impact they are creating on the environment.

The students were also called upon to focus on eliminating the use of plastics. Ms Nakyejjwe explained the damage plastics cause to soils and the entire environment.

Students from Economics program at the College of Business and Management Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, in conjunction with Research Fellows from Environment for Development (EfD), Makerere University donation of 2,000 tree seedlings to Masaka District Local Government (DLG), 14th June 2024.

The Environment for Development Centre at Makerere University plays a pivotal role in supporting initiatives like this. EfD is dedicated to the application of environmental economics to contribute to sustainable development. By integrating research, policy analysis, and capacity building, EfD aims to address environmental challenges and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

Uganda faces significant environmental challenges, with deforestation being a critical issue. According to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda loses approximately 122,000 hectares of forest cover annually. This deforestation contributes to adverse effects on climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods. Climate change exacerbates these issues, leading to more frequent and severe droughts, floods, and unpredictable weather patterns. These environmental changes threaten agriculture, water resources, and the overall well-being of the population.

This annual tree donation campaign by Economics students underscores Makerere University‘s dedication to fostering academic excellence alongside social responsibility. The initiative not only aids in environmental conservation but also serves as a valuable educational experience for the students involved. By addressing deforestation and climate change through such actions, the university contributes to the broader goal of sustainable development in Uganda. Last year, the students donated seedlings to Kiboga DLG.

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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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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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