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…

Hindrances to the prosperity of the agricultural sector in Uganda.

Agriculture has been the back bone of Uganda’s economy for ages. Recent statistics show that over 80% of Uganda’s population is employed at some stage in the agricultural sector. However, the benefits and direct contribution to the economy are yet to be fully derived and enjoyed by the populous involved in this trade.

While doing research on agriculture in Uganda, I found that the following are some of the major hindrances to the prosperity of this sector. Low commercial agricultural levels, lack of linkage between research and farmers, lack of agricultural machinery, pests and diseases, low level of value addition, land fragmentation, high cost of finance, and the poorly structured transport network.

In my next articles, I will explore in detail some of the elements that have continuously held Uganda back in terms of agricultural growth and development.

Until next time…

Poor spending habits: A major cause of the vicious cycle of borrowing.

Yesterday, I came across a very interesting article in the Daily Monitor Newspaper regarding peoples’ spending habits. I found it related to my previous article titled “Living within our means for a better tomorrow” and was therefore prompted to share it with you this day.

The phrase, “Failing to make ends meet ” is common in Uganda and it means that a person has got into a pattern where their income does not cover the money they spend month after month. In our book, “Make Sense of Your Money” we describe this situation as having more months at the end of the money- meaning the salary gets finished several days before the next pay cheque. 

Recently, a group of people attending a personal money management course that I was facilitating shared with me their major spending mistakes;

Living above means was a major spending mistake mentioned, for instance having expenses to an amount that is twice your income. Another was relying on anticipated income i.e one of the participants said his biggest spending mistake arose out of spending money in anticipation of future income. However, the most common mistake was  the “What will people say syndrome” where several participants said their spending mistake was that they spent money out of fear of the opinion of other people and they cited several examples to illustrate this issue. By James Abola.

Astala vista…

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!

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

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.

Food shortage: A result of global warming.

Market days were very exciting and filled with lots of anticipation. Trucks loaded with bags of potatoes, corn, huge banches of matooke (green bananas) moving in and out of the market. Men clad in muddy clothes carrying and delivering these bags to market vendors, who were waiting with big smiles on their faces.

This is going to be a profitable day!” One would hear the vendors whisper. That’s me being nostalgic, dwelling on the good old days. Days where having three meals wasn’t a priviledge, because food was in plenty.

“Studies have shown that the combination of increased  levels of Carbondioxide in the atmosphere, rising temperatures and changes in precipitation may result in significantly lower yields for staple crops such as corn and wheat, particularly in the tropical areas where food production is normally high.” Dr. Sam Myers told Live Science.

This is already evident in Uganda today. A local farmer in Agago District, while talking to BBC focus on Africa said that because of food shortage, a cup of beans previously selling at Ushs 800 now goes for Ushs 2700 for half a cup! In many parts of Uganda, lives are in peril with over 1.6 million people facing starvation and close to 10 million others being underfed.

Inspite of the current rains, this food crisis isn’t over yet because it will probably take 3-4 months before the next harvest.

Global warming is definately playing a big role in the food shortage in Uganda.

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!!!