The World Bank country manager, Mr. Antony Thompson has urged Uganda’s government to scale up investments in the education and health sectors.
In light of a population boom, he says this is necessary to combat poverty and reduce societal inequalities.
He made these remarks at the launch of the 13th World Bank Uganda economic update that at Makerere University today.
“A large population that is educated with skills and productive is an asset to the country,” he said.
“In additional to the economic benefits, basic education increases individual minds by 70%. Education reduces the risk of poverty and provides other benefits”, says.
If not well managed, Thompson warned that education has the capacity of accelerating poverty. He says it has come to their attention that irrespective of investments by multi-lateral bodies in the education sector, the number of school drop outs continues to increase as the population pummels.
On his part, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe the vice chancellor Makerere University commended this research for clearly articulating issues to deal with improving quality of education.
These he says are at the heart of the institute.
He also thanked the World Bank for funding several projects and centres of excellence at Makerere.
Report in Context
Following the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997, the report found that Gross enrolment rates (GER) have increased dramatically compared to neighbours Kenya.
Particularly, GER increased from 2.5% in 1997 before stabilizing at 111% in 2017.
Driven by strong investment and consumption perfomance, Uganda’s economic growth remained strong at 6.4% in the first half of 2018/19. Foreign direct investment has now doubled to 5% while public investment has increased by 0.3% respectively.
Economic growth is expected to grow by 6% in the financial year 2018/19 and FY 2019/20.
However, heading to the 2021 general polls, uncertainty could lead to a drop in investment and economic activity.
On the other hand, tax revenues have been on an upward trajectory growing to 14.5% during this period.
Concerning public debt, it rose to about USD 11.4 roughly 42 trillion shillings at the end of 2017/18. That aside, foreign borrowing has declined by 3.3% of GDP in the first half of 2018/19. In 2017/18, domestic borrowing was three times higher.
This drop coincides with the completion of mega infrastructural projects in Isimba and Karuma dams.