Kampala — Faced with a big challenge of creating jobs for thousands of unemployed youth, Uganda has now turned to Pakistan to train its population in practical skills as it seeks to attain middle income status.
Authorities in Pakistan positioned their economy after independence from India over six decades ago from low income to mid-level through emphasis on practical skills, a move which created hundreds of jobs for the population.
The State Minister for Higher Education Dr J.C Muyingo has requested Pakistan to invest in higher tertiary institutions of learning to impart practical skills in youth to drive the economy to middle income status.
"We also want you invest in tertiary institutions like health nursing centres among others not only to employable youths but also to create jobs," he told Pakistanis in Uganda.
The minster added: "Uganda and Pakistan have had a long collaboration. People like the Third Deputy Prime Minister Kirunda Kivejinja and Bidandi Ssali (former Peoples Progressive Party) studied in Pakistan. Thank for the scholarship and give us more. We want our ties with Pakistan to be strengthened by better technology," said Muyingo at Golf Course Hotel, Kampala during celebrations to mark Pakistan day.
Analysts say Uganda's quest to become a middle income economy has been held back by low investments in health, education, infrastructure, technology and innovation.
According International Monetary World Economic Outlook report, Uganda recorded $746.59 (Shs2.7 million) GDP per capita in the ten months to October, 2018.
However World Bank experts categorises the middle income status in two per capita GDP levels, including lower middle income- ranging from $996- $3,945, (Shs3.7 million - 14.6 million).
This means Uganda is shy of $249 (33.5) percent to achieve the middle income indicator it's cherishing by 2020.
According to experts, one of the biggest challenges standing in Uganda's way to achieve the middle income status is unemployability of youth, especially the theoretical graduates.
Keen at capturing state power from President Museveni, the oppositions has always rallied unemployed youth against the regime.
According to official statistics from Uganda National Bureau of Statistics, Uganda produces about 400,000 graduates annually but most do not find jobs.
The public holiday in Pakistan is remembered in the Muslim struggle for an independent state from India. The celebrations were presided over by Kivejinja and attended by several government officers and Mr Al- Malik Azhar, the chairman of Pakistan Society Uganda (PSU) among other Pakistanis.
Dr Muhammad IIyas, the chairman Al-Shafa Modern Hospital Ltd welcomed Muyingo's call.
"I have a hospital in south eastern Uganda (Jinja). I am already in the health sector, so I can do a clinical collage," he said.
Mr Al- Malik Azhar, the chairman, PSU said the society has the capacity to invest the sector and promised to follow up the matter.
He also revealed that the society is drilling bore holes in eastern and constructing a mosque in Pakwachi District.