Integrity: A virtue essential for personal and national economic development.

Yesterday, I was part of a market place convention held in Kampala, Uganda. This convention is held once every year and brings together Christians from different walks of life in the job market. For instance, some of the companies that were represented included Renault car company,Insurance Company of East Africa (ICEA), to mention but a few.

The theme for the night was Facing the Giants with the guest speaker being Mrs. Angela Kirabwire from Capital Markets Authority, Uganda. This convention is aimed at empowering christians with knowledge and skills required to prosper and leave a mark in whichever field they encounter. It also offers an opportunity for people to interact, network, and make connections in the job market.

Individuals who have been in the field of work for a long time (20 years or so) are given a platform to share their stories and experience in the job market. They also talk about the challenges encountered, how they handled them, as well as the crucial lessons learnt in the due process. This is meant to provide mentorship to the young graduates and those just starting out in their careers.

Mrs. Angela Kirabwire took the stage and put the theme of the night “Facing the Giants” into context using her story of about 20 years in the job market. She ably illustrated various scenarios in which she had been put in very compromising situations involving graft, bribery and corruption in its ultimate description. Angella then added that she stood firm by her values of Integrity inspite of the insurmountable consequences.

She later on emphasised the importance of giving our best and working diligently however small the tasks at hand seem to be. This lays a firm foundation on which we can slowly and progressively build our careers.

True economic development starts with people in the economy, and Integrity is a core value eessential for personal development.

If only every individual were to steward their resources faithfully, our economy would grow and develop exponentially!

Importance of forests with regards to food security.

My sense is that the most under-appreciated and perhaps most under-researched linkages between forests and food security are the roles that forest-based ecosystem services play in underpinning sustainable agricultural production. Forests regulate hydrological services including the quantity, quality, and timing of water available for irrigation. Forests mitigate the impact of climate change and extreme weather events at the landscape scale. Frances Seymour, Center for International Forestry Research.

Until next time…

Agriculture: Could be a gold mine for the youth in Uganda.

Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy with majority (both crops and livestock) on small farms for food and cash income, and on fairly large farms including ranches. The major livestock species include cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, and poultry. From an economic point view, cattle are the most important livestock with significant contributions, though to a lesser extent from goats and sheep.

The major food crops in Uganda have been plaintains, millet, cassava, sweet potatoes, sorghum, corn, beans, and groundnuts. Over 80% of the population relies upon agriculture for its livelihood. This however doesnot reflect in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That is, most of the people in Uganda are involved in some way with agriculture , but they constitute a very small portion of the nation’s GDP.

This is evident in my neighborhood, just the other day, a friend of mine was telling me how almost every household has a small shamba(garden) in their backyard. These have vegetables, a few cassava stems, and fruits. Nonetheless, these shambas are on a very small scale which doesnot adequately satisfy the community, let alone national demand. The farming systems and practices are also fairly homogeneous and rudimentary with the locals using tools like pangas, hand-hoes, and slashers.

If only more emphasis and investment is put in the agricultural sector, it will play a huge role in curbing the ridiculous unemployment rates in Uganda (8 out of every 10 graduates are unemployed!) The sector could absorb these youths into different stages of the agricultural process i.e ploughing, planting, harvesting, marketing, etc.

In my opinion, agriculture if managed properly could be a sector flowing with milk and honey!

Until next time…

Living within our means for a better tomorrow.

Today, I was priviledged to attend a conference with the theme Power, Sex, and Money, the emphasis being on Money. Majority, if not all of the people in attendance were quite youthful, with some of them being students at university and others recently starting out in the job market.

The discussion at hand was very interesting and it involved the use of money in economic growth and development on a micro level. Very importantly though, it also encompassed how to make clean money that will last for years to come, in the process leading to progressive and sustainable macro economic development.

One of the guest speakers was Mr. Amos Wekesa, founder, Great Lakes Safaris ltd who also happens to be my mentor. He emphasised the importance of saving and living not only within, but also below our means.

He argued that this would potentially reduce the amount of debt that many people usually accumulate from unecessary liabilities like luxurious cars. These spending habits in many cases also result in the vicious cycle of borrowing. However; “When you save money, one day that money will save you.” Amos Wekesa added.

We should always endeavor to live within our means, and use the money that we have to make a positive and significant difference in our economy.

Until next time…

Is Economic freedom a mith?

In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else’s mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one’s own place and economy.

In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and, more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks and shares. And our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self interested suppliers. Thus although we arenot slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else’s legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits.

For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would bethe point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed?

The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household neighborhood, and community and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means. Wendell Berry

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.

An alternative to cereals as animal and fish feeds is imminent.

Cereals have for years, if not centuries been used as feeds for animals, fish and chicken. With the current shortage in production being a result of the prevalent drought especially in the tropical regions, it is imminent that a suitable alternative be found as soon as now.

There should be a significant reduction in the use of cereals as feeds. This can be done in a “green” economy by increasing food energy efficiency using fish discards, capture and recycling of post harvest losses, waste and development of new technology, thereby increasing food energy efficiency by 30-50% at the current production levels.

According to The Environmental Food Crisis, increasing the food energy efficiency provides a critical path for significant growth in food supply without compromising environmental sustainability.

As a result, the individuals living in drought stricken regions could have an extra meal or two contrary to what they can currently afford.

Celebrating the women in my life.

Today’s post is dedicated to the women across the globe, especially those whom I have had the priviledge to interact with in various capacities.

Beautiful woman, come out and play, reveal your inner treasures. The sparkle in your eyes, the natural swing in your walk, you radiate excitement and enthusiasm. You need no latest fashion, No expensive hair cuts, No blinding big accessories. You glow in your passions, passionate in your pursuits you know what you are made of. You are not easily bothered by the mindless opinions of others, you know very well where you want to go. You are a joy to watch, an inspiration to others, your pure soul an endless marvel. Beautiful woman, let your brilliance shine through, your eyes speak of true inner beauty. Fion Lim

Today, I celebrate you. Happy Women’s Day!