Uganda on Wednesday joined the rest of the world to mark the International Youth Day, an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives.

President Yoweri Museveni launched a Youth4Business Innovation Entrepreneurship facility, an instrument developed by the UN in the East African country to promote impact-driven entrepreneurship, foster innovation, and leverage business solutions to address youth unemployment challenges.

Rosa Malango, a UN coordinator in Uganda, said the international body carried out a social-economic analysis of COVID-19 impact, which revealed that up to 60% of informal enterprises have stopped operations in the landlocked country.

Uganda has the second youngest population in the entire world, with over 78% below age 30, according to the Population Reference Bureau. About 64% of these are in some form of employment.

Lillian Aber, chairperson National Youth Council, said youth has been affected the most by the pandemic, with teenage pregnancies going up during lockdown, and increase in mental, psychological trauma.

“We are particularly interested in programs that have demonstrated tangible results and achieved goals, in the development of the well-being of youths,” said Ed Menya, a politician from Jinja district.

Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs Florence Nakiwala said the youth play significant roles in finding lasting solutions to socio-economic, and political challenges.

She reiterated the government’s commitment to complement the already existing schemes such as Youth Livelihood program and Venture Capital fund, among others.

This year the day seeks to put the spotlight on youth engagement at local, international and global level.

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