The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Bank Trains Mbuya Youth

With the high rate of unemployment in Uganda, many youths have resorted to venturing into entrepreneurship.

However, many of them do not make it to their first year anniversary largely due to lack of financial literacy. Centenary bank is trying to change this. The bank recently trained youth in Mbuya with the aim of giving them a more focussed investment approach, and tips on how to manage their finances effectively.

"We have identified Centenary Bank to train us in business skills because of their expertise in micro financing," said Patrick Kaahwa, a 31-year-old private clinic owner and leader of the group.

"Through the training, we hope to obtain knowledge on how to efficiently operate and expand our businesses," he added.

Centenary bank and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) did a two-hour needs assessment session of the youths in preparation for training to address the identified business gaps. While addressing the youth, Robert Mawanda, the national coordinator for ILO - Youth Entrepreneurship Facility in Uganda, noted that most of the young entrepreneurs were passionate about business but didn't know how to run them.

"We are going to train the youth on how to manage their personal and business finances among other aspects in order to help them boost their businesses."

Allen Ayebare, the Centenary Bank Corporate Communications manager, commended the group for their enthusiasm in business growth.

"The youth have great potential to grow their businesses; they approached us seeking opportunities for skill and knowledge acquisition. We will certainly provide them with financial literacy training basing on their needs as we have noted through this interaction. We believe they will be able to grow their businesses and overcome challenges therein," she said.

The 50 young entrepreneurs are operating businesses that include salons, boutiques, boda bodas, printeries, furniture marts and health centres. They will be trained under a programme run by Centenary bank and the International Labour Organisation that aims at empowering youth countrywide with financial skills. The two-year programme, started in October last year, has so far trained 60 youths under Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) and aims to reach over 700 overall.

The training is part of Centenary bank's Corporate Social Responsibility financial literacy programme that is reaching out to over five million people through different partnerships with other organisations including Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), ABI Trust and Techonoserve.

Centenary bank, the leading commercial microfinance bank, currently serves over 1.3 million customers countrywide through 58 branches and 130 ATMs. Other banks have also ventured into training customers. Barclays is known to sponsor trips to countries like China for entrepreneurs to get a first-hand experience of business in more developed markets.

Dfcu is another bank that has undertaken similar financial literacy trainings, especially among businesswomen. Telecom companies like Warid telecom and MTN Uganda have also taken part in educating entrepreneurs about financial management.

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