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!

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.

A short term move to enhance food security.

Inorder to decrease the risk of highly volatile prices, price regulation on commodities and larger cereal stocks should be created to buffer the tight markets of food commodities and subsequent risks of speculation in markets.

This includes reorganizing the food market infrastructure and institutions to regulate food prices and provide food safety nets aimed at alleviating the impact of rising food prices and food shortage, including both direct and indirect transfers, such as a global fund to support micro-finance to boost small-scale farmer productivity. The Environmental Food Crisis

Being innovative and adapting to the changing times.

We ought to support farmers in developing diversified and resilient eco-agriculture systems that provide critical ecosystem services (water supply and regulation, habitat for wild plants and animals genetic diversity, pollination, pest control, climate regulation), as well as adequate food to meet local and consumer needs.

This also includes managing extreme rainfall and using inter-cropping to minimize dependency on external inputs like artificial fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation water and the development, implementation and support of green technology for small-scale farmers. The Environmental Food Crisis.

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?

 

Irrigation is the long term solution to food shortage.

The talk of food shortage in the tropical regions has dominated headlines of late. This has largely been because of the prolonged dry spell that has of recent faded away.

Irrigation has proven to be a viable remedy to the unpredictable prolonged dry spells across the globe. Many countries that are geographically located in hot and semi-arid regions ,like Egypt have established mega Irrigation schemes that support plantations in the hottest of times.

In my opinion, countries in East Africa with Uganda being the case in point, ought to borrow a leaf or two and go the Irrigation way. This way, production of food crops could be enhanced, especially among the large scale farmers.

As a result, not only will there be increased production, but the surplus produce could also counter increased demand in times of food shortage.

Is Climate change a hoax?

There is alot of controversy on this climate change phenomenon. Many people believe that climate change and global warming have been blown out of proportion, most notably being the USA president, Donald J. Trump who famously said that; “Climate¬†change is a scam created by China!

Scientists, however, think otherwise with many study findings alluding to the fact that global warming will and is already having insurmountable effects in the world today.

“While a powerful El nino has faded, the globe’s heat continues to be an enduring aspect. This January was the third warmest January on record according to data released last week by NASA. Large areas saw temperatures that were up to 9 degrees Farhenheit above normal.” Brian Kahn, Climate Central.

In Uganda, the weather-man has of recent failed to make accurate weather forecasts in the past three years or so. The dry spells have been much longer and hotter than earlier predicted. They have come out to say that their mishaps are largely because of climate change.

Recently, the meteorologists predicted that it is going to rain for the next three months, but some areas might only receive small amounts. Lets wait and see how this turns out.

You might be wondering what climate change has to do with the economy. In my next article, I will explore just how significant a role it is playing in today’s economy.

What’s your take on climate change and global warming? Feel free to leave a comment.

Artificial Intelligence: Reality of a jobless future.

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 computerization for over 700 jobs.They concluded that “recent developments in machine will put a substantial share of employment, across a wide range of occupations at risk in the near future” The Economist.

A few years back, the thought of having “driverless” cars moving on our streets was only in sci-fi movies and simply out of the realm of reality. However, times do change, many developed countries like France, German, USA,etc are in advanced stages of making and testing prototypes of driverless cars. The car manufacturers predict that these will be available on the market by 2020!

This has left many bus and taxi drivers in those countries worrying their heads off due to the possibility of losing their jobs to machines and computers.

In Uganda, a recent study shows that one-fifth of the employees in bank related jobs could be jobless by 2021, with most banks resorting to mobile banking and the like.

An AI professor at Stanford University recently stated that “We are just seeing the tip of the Iceberg. No office job is safe” The Economist.

This growing popularity of Artificial Intelligence dictates that only those willing to learn and adjust will have a chance, otherwise, a jobless future is imminent.