Impact of Artificial Intelligence being felt globally.

NEW DELHI: Over 60 per cent of marketers in India believe new-age technologies are going to impact their workplace practices and consider it the next big disruptor in the industry, a new report said on Thursday. According to a global report by software major Adobe that involved more than 5,000 creative and marketing professionals across…

via Artificial intelligence, machine learning to impact workplace practices in India: Adobe — The Economic Times

Will a reduction in the CBR jumpstart Uganda’s economy?

In today’s article, I put into perspective the recent move by the Central Bank of Uganda of reducing the CBR in order to jumpstart the economy. Enjoy the read…

In the past months, Uganda’s economy has experienced a massive slowdown in its growth. A number of events have played a significant role in this economic downturn, for instance, an increased unemployment rate relative to population growth, a prolonged drought at the beginning of the year, and a reduction in money supply within the Ugandan market. Many businesses are downsizing while some are even closing because of the inaccessibility to credit. In other words, the interest rates have been very high and therefore not favourable for the local entrepreneurs who also have limited collateral security. The populous has also reduced its demand for goods and services due to a shortage in their disposable income. Meaning that majority of the population can no longer afford to spend as much as before, but are rather focusing on making their ends meet.

In a bid to revive the economy, Bank of Uganda (BoU) has reduced the Central Bank Rate (CBR), that is, the rate at which the commercial banks borrow money from BoU. The reduction from 12 percent to 10 percent is essentially meant to reduce lending rates, encourage the private sector to borrow money from commercial banks, increase local investment, and in turn increase the amount of money circulating within the economy.

However, oftentimes bankers have stated that the CBR is just a signal rate and doesn’t automatically translate into the lowering of lending rates to its level. In addition to that, most of the players in the private sector are sceptical to establish new and expand already existing investments. The high costs of production are pushing them to downsize their businesses with the hope of at least breaking even. Another reason why many local investors are not rushing to borrow is that the commercial banks might actually not follow suit to reduce their lending rates.

While addressing a press conference the other day, the Kampala City Trader’s Association chairperson, Evaristo Kayondo, had this to say; “Bank of Uganda has been reducing its rate for a year now but interest rates remain high. Businesses cannot be borrowing at a rate of 20 percent and expect to survive! For the last one year, bank’s have taken over business property because of these high rates. We don’t expect a lot to change.”

In my humble opinion, I think that fiscal and monetary policy measures like reducing the Central Bank Rate can only do much in the short-term. Therefore, to achieve a sustainable and long-term jumpstart in Uganda’s economy, the populous needs to save, organise and pool together the available financial resources in their respective sectors. This should be done with an intention to specifically support local investments. Eventually, the economy will be able to support itself to a good extent using resources from within.

Thanks for reading, until next time…

The Homerun: If you’re willing, then it’s possible.

The homerun obstacle race was scheduled for late last month and I was so looking forward to it. Unfortunately, a few days prior to the race I got sick and started second guessing my participation. This run was meant to demonstrate the challenges that refugees face while fleeing their home countries, usually in small families. Some of the challenges included delays in documentation, language barrier, tiresome routes, hostile and unfamiliar cultures. Manoeuvring through barbed wire fences, climbing over walls, crawling through muddy fields were also simulated.

The day before the race, just after deciding not to participate, I got a pep-talk from a close friend who successfully convinced me to change my mind. However, there was one problem, I didn’t have a family to run with. “Hey James, am looking for a team, can I join yours?” a colleague asked me. “Hey, I don’t have one, but we could create our own.” I responded. “Cool, let’s do that.” he added. A minute or two later, four ladies walk up to us and say; “Hey guys, is it alright if you adopt us into your family?” “Yes, of course!” we were quick to respond. We then formed an adopted family named it Samuka and hit the road.

During the race, there were times when I felt like sprinting but some family members were exhausted. So, we all had to reduce our pace and run as a family. At some point, it became more of a home walk given that we resorted to walk a good portion of the distance. Then came the obstacles! Hardly could we hold our breaths, when we encountered the next obstacle. Our mental strength was challenged, our bodies were pushed to the limit, we got agitated, but we’re willing to go all the way. When we couldn’t sprint, we jogged, when we couldn’t jog, we walked, when we couldn’t walk, well, we rested a bit, the ladies took a couple of selfies then we marched on.

Just when we thought the obstacles were done, there was the mud-crawl looking right in our faces. The whole family was quite skeptical about doing the mud-crawl given that some of us didn’t have a change of clothes, and the thought of walking through town all muddy was simply unbearable. Luckily, one of us had a change of heart and decided to take one for the family. Inspite of the occasional hiccups along the way, we managed to reach the finish line because we were willing.

Obstacles and hurdles that are often times impossible to anticipate disorganize our plans and divert us from our goals. Nevertheless, we should be flexible enough to adjust our plans whenever necessary, be willing to extend a helping hand and take one for the team. Above all, we need to develop a character of resilience, an attitude of never giving up.

It’s not how many obstacles we may hit and fall that matter, but how many times we are willing to get back up when we do.

If you’re willing, then it’s possible!

Until next time…

Development starts from within us.

I usually take walks along the streets of Kampala everyday after work. Last Friday proved to be one of a kind, mostly because I was accompanied by an enchanting and brilliant young lady. Momentarily, a conversation ensued between us in which I got fully immersed. Just across the street, there sat an able bodied man who was clad in rugged clothes with arms stretched out begging the passers-by. “Mpaako kikumi!!” (Give me one hundred shillings!!)” He repeatedly begged. “Ariz, do you think that guy over there has aspirations for the future?” I asked Ariz signalling towards his direction. “Uhmm, I highly doubt that, at least based on what I see.” Ariz responded. “Honestly speaking, I think having aspirations for his future, let alone pursuing them is the last thing on his mind. All he cares about right now is his next meal and possibly where he’s going to spend the night.” She added.

When I saw this guy begging, it got me thinking of the many young men and women in Uganda and across Africa who relate with him in one way or another. Some even have the privilege of University education but are still indifferent from the street man. They are sitted on their potential gifts and talents at home doing nothing productive. Apparently, most youths believe that personal development is a waste of time and energy. This is largely because of the mindset they have adopted from their societies. They don’t value their self worth and also don’t have mentors to emulate in that regard. Therefore, the whole idea of building human capital is an aspect so alien to pursue.

Personal development covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develop skills and talents, facilitate employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realisation of dreams and aspirations. These activities are more often than not disguised in service, that is, opting to be selfless inspite of the qualifications and certificates that we hold. I believe that we ought to look beyond ourselves, because the abilities that we possess aren’t for us to just keep in our minute and pocket-sized worlds, but rather to give of ourselves and create a positive difference in our localities and in the lives of those we are privileged enough to encounter.

When we begin to serve with a passion regardless of the field we are in, the need for personal development becomes inevitable. That way, we become vessels of change and a means to development rather than an end in itself. Better yet, pursuing something bigger than self opens doors for a great yearning coupled by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Eventually, development becomes an adventure worth taking on.

An orator once said; “To every individual, there comes that one opportune moment when you are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and given a task specifically tailored to your gifts and talents. What a shame when that moment finds you unprepared or unqualified!”

In which category do you belong?

Until next time…

Dare to live today!

Putting things off is the biggest waste of life. It snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live in the present!~Seneca.

Until next time folks…

The state of Economics today.

I am always fascinated by the prospect of discovering a new definition of economics and its role in shaping the dynamics of our society. Some of you are probably still caught up in a maze of figuring out what this phenomenon called “Economics” actually is.

A number of people perceive it differently and so have varying views on this subject. Some say economics is a way of life, others say its a science that enables society to utilise scarce resources by making decisions based on individual preferences.

When asked, a colleague of mine just narrowed it down to being some complex subject having lots of incomprehensible jargon, that is apparently only meant for the “elite economist!” Well, I beg to defer. I believe that economics is meant for everybody. From the lady vending maize along the streets to the tycoon owning a number of shopping malls in town, from the illiterate kid digging somewhere in a shamba to the rich kid anxiously waiting for the release of IPhone 8! The only difference is that all these individuals look at economics through varying lenses.

Recently, while chatting with some friends of mine, an interesting topic came up involving economics, its evolution and subsequent impact on our society over the years. We were later on joined by a fellow who was quite learned and knowledgeable in economics based on the thoughts he shared. What stood out for me was his argument that economic knowledge without political power in this day and age is hardly effective. He then posed an intriguing question; “Is economics dead?” To which we all responded almost in unison “No! Ofcourse not!” “Economics cannot die, it’s part of life!” One of us added.

In my humble opinion, economics has been put in an ideological box and maliciously suffocated by the major players who use power backed by their selfish and myopic interests. As a result, key policy decisions that affect the multitudes are taken by the minority.

Ironically, most of the interest groups have no clue that this is happening!

Until next time…

Planting trees: A huge leap towards fighting climate change.

As trees grow, they help to stop climate change by removing carbondioxide from the air, storing the carbondioxide in the leaves and soil, as well as releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits to us every day, they offer cooling shades, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities.

Could post harvest preservation systems be a remedy to food shortage?

Food waste contributes greatly to world hunger. One solution includes placing a greater emphasis on post-harvest food preservation methods such as solar refridgeration, intelligent packaging and creating a world food preservation center. Charles. L. Wilson, Ph.D

Drought resistant crops are the way to go.

Drought normally hits crops at the flowering and seed stages, which is critical in determining the size of a crop’s harvest. Therefore, we need to look beyond the traditional food crops that we have become accustomed to, and start growing those that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

According to Science Daily, lead researcher Dr. Kai Xun Chan from the ANU Research of Biology said that the team discovered an enzyme that senses adverse drought and sunlight conditions, and how it works from atomic to overall plant levels.

This way the crops will be able to react and adjust in terms of nutrient intake. In turn, they will be able to grow to maturity despite the harsh weather conditions.

Given that we can only do much to change the current weather and climatic patterns, why not adapt to them accordingly?

 

Creativity: Solution to the automation threat.

“There are ways for students to adapt their academic pursuits to compete with an increasingly automated workforce, by learning to be creative thinkers who improvise in ways that computers cannot.” Business Insider

We ought to capitalize on those soft skills that no machine or computer can offer.

First blog post

Hey there, my name is James Lubwa and I have recently completed my B.Sc in Quantitative Economics. I am currently living in Kampala, Uganda. My passion for Economics and the love to write have sparked an immeasurable desire to start this blog. I intend to write about Economic issues in my locality and those around the globe. This blog is therefore intended for individuals who love Economics, those in fields of Economics whether at school or work, and to the layman out there who might not have any academic background in Economics but would like to know a thing or two with regards to how Economics affects their daily lives.

Above all, I hope you enjoy reading and learning from this blog.

Cheers!!!

Assumptions of an Ever Changing World – The Secrets of Decision Making

simplisticInsights

pebbles

We are no stranger when it comes to decision making, by now one would think that we would have no problem at all in its participation…. Pfft, yea right! The thought of change alone, sends the shiver of uncertainty throughout our entire body. We are dealing with the unknown, and it’s only natural we feel this way.

Decisions can really take their toll, shattering our perception into thousands of pieces. Dragging us from left to right, only to leave one questioning the internal truths that were once believed. It is nothing more than an emotional rollercoaster.

One minute we are as confident as can be, the next we’re so confused we pinch ourselves in hope we will wake up from the nightmare we have indulged ourselves within.

But why do we put ourselves through such torture, such an insanity that takes us to the breaking point, each and every…

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Do you have the skills to keep your job?

In today’s dynamic job market, the need to have a unique skill(s) cannot be emphasized enough. New work models are cropping up like freelancing, where employees don’t have to necessarily sit at a desk to work for an organisation. Within many companies, teams are learning to be more agile, to work with distributed and remote workers, and adapt to the ever changing market.

It’s unfortunate that in Africa, the education system has failed to follow suite with the changing work models. The system remains rigid and doesn’t encourage students to be creative. Consequently, when graduates get into the job market, they can hardly secure a placement given the stiff competition. The idea of becoming job-creators through different start-ups is also too alien to pursue. Given that individual efforts can only do much to change the school system, you have to be intentional about acquiring new skills outside of it.

Well, for those currently working, you shouldn’t get so comfortable in your jobs either. A recent research by the World Economic Forum shows that the Half-Life of a job-skill is about 5 years. This means that the skill you have right now will be half as valuable in the next five years. So, it’s important to keep re-skilling yourself as you prepare for the future market.

The first step is to ask yourself these questions:

1. What unique skills do I have?  2Are those skills relevant in the job market today?  3.What skills will be in demand five years from now?

Based on your response to the above questions, start making deliberate efforts to skill and re-skill yourself. Make good use of the resources you have now so that you can improve your marketability in the years to come.

Thanks for reading, until next time…

The state of Economics today.

Econsimplified

I am always fascinated by the prospect of discovering a new definition of economics and its role in shaping the dynamics of our society. Some of you are probably still caught up in a maze of figuring out what this phenomenon called “Economics” actually is.

A number of people perceive it differently and so have varying views on this subject. Some say economics is a way of life, others say its a science that enables society to utilise scarce resources by making decisions based on individual preferences.

When asked, a colleague of mine just narrowed it down to being some complex subject having lots of incomprehensible jargon, that is apparently only meant for the “elite economist!” Well, I beg to defer. I believe that economics is meant for everybody. From the lady vending maize along the streets to the tycoon owning a number of shopping malls in town…

View original post 195 more words

Artificial Intelligence: Reality of a jobless future.

Econsimplified

After completing campus (University studies), the dream of every graduate is to get a job and apply the knowledge that we have amassed. We spend sleepless nights perfecting our CVs, making numerous job applications, and then dropping them off one office at a time.

Finally, when that lucky break manifests and we get a job, we celebrate and start building a career!

Meanwhile, these celebrations could be short lived with Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming the norm in not only the developed but also the developing countries.

With the current tough financial times, every employer would wish to reduce expenses and operate at the lowest possible costs without necessarily undermining the quality of his/her product.The advance of Artificial Intelligence in the work-place is gradually making this wish come true, with prospects of not having to pay salaries and allowances.

Recent studies by Carl Benedict and Michael Osborne examined the probability of…

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