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PIM Basic training 4: Building Capacity of public officers

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This week once again, the Public Investment Management Centre of Excellence is contributing to capacity building of government officers. The center is offering basic Public Investment Management training to a group of forty (40) Economists from different MDAs. Key focus areas has been on how to develop project concept notes and project Profiles in their respective MDAs, use of the Integrated Bank of Projects, Introduction to integrated investment appraisal, key considerations in the Environment and Social Risk management, Monitoring & Evaluation of the projects as well as the Public Private Partnerships in the design and execution of the projects. 

Speaking during the open of the training on September 25, 2023, Prof. Ibrahim Mike Okumu, the Dean School of Economics, appreciated the government of Uganda for the support rendered to the center. He also thanked the participants for making the time to undertake the one-week intensive training. 

Participants hold a group discussion during the PIM Basic Training.
Participants hold a group discussion during the PIM Basic Training.

He said he was happy to see participants from Ministries, Agencies, departments, NGOs and academic institutions. “Having university participants gives me the confidence that we as trainers are contributing to curriculum development and review in these institutions,” he said. “Having public and private officers trained shows that we shall have a country that not only works for its self but also for its people”.

He encouraged the participants to participate in the other two modules; Financial modeling and Economic Modeling which will take place in November 2023 and February 2024.

Participants follow proceedings during the training.
Participants follow proceedings during the training.

The Centre Manager, Dr. Willy Kagarura, shared with the trainees the reasons for the creation of the center. He shared that the center was formed to create capacity for PIMs in an effort to reduce losses in public investments. This followed a World Bank study which found that Uganda was losing 6 cents of every dollar invested. This was attributed to poor project management, write from the concept stage to implementation.  The PIM center has over the last 2 years undertake capacity building, research and advisory services in the areas of PIM. Over 150 public officers have acquired the training. The center hopes to train more than 500 individuals over the next 5 years.

The over 40 trainees who attended the PIM Basic training received certificates following the one-week rigorous training. Speaking during the award ceremony on September 29, 2023, Mr. Joseph Ahaisibwe from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, also one of the trainers was hopeful that the trainees would use the new knowledge acquired to better their performances at work. He called on the officers to ensure that their organizations have functional Project Preparation Committees in an effort to improve PIM. The officers requested that the heads of these government entities also be invited to undertake this training such that they too get this important knowledge. This, Mr Ahaisibwe said the ministry would consider.

Some of the 40 Economists from different MDAs that took part in the training.
Some of the 40 Economists from different MDAs that took part in the training.

The Director of Research and Graduate Training at Makerere University and also the Principal Investigator of the PIM centre of Excellence, Prof. Edward Bbaale on his part thanked the government of Uganda through MoFPED for the funding to the centre. Their support he said has been instrumental in efforts to enhance the skills and knowledge of government workers in the field of Public Investment Management (PIM).

He appreciated the dedicated faculty members who have contributed to the success of this training program. The experts are drawn from Makerere University, the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, the National Planning Authority, and PEMBROKE Consultants.

The PIM Centre Manager, Dr. Willy Kagarura (2nd Left) with trainers and participants.
The PIM Centre Manager, Dr. Willy Kagarura (2nd Left) with trainers and participants.

Prof. Bbaale also appreciated the participants for making the time to undertake the course.  “I implore you to view this training as the initial step in your journey through Public Investment Management. We invite you to consider advanced training phases in PIM, such as Financial Analysis and Economic Analysis, where we delve deeper into financial and economic modeling. These advanced courses offer a blend of theory and hands-on experience, allowing you to work on real-world projects in sectors like roads, electricity, water, and energy,” he said.

The trainer (Left) and participants during one of the sessions.
The trainer (Left) and participants during one of the sessions.

The trainees will be expected to undertake two more intermediary courses; Financial and Economic Analysis. 

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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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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