In a bid to achieve socioeconomic transformation, the Ugandan government is placing a significant emphasis on accelerating the full monetization of the economy.
This was the key message delivered by Dr. Ramathan Ggoobi at the 2nd Uganda Development Forum (UDF) annual conference, held from November 3 to 4, 2023, at Chobe Safari Lodge in Murchison Falls National Park. The conference’s theme was “Working together to effectively develop sustainable end-to-end agricultural value chains.”
Dr. Ggoobi stressed the importance of effective implementation of the Parish Development Model, designed to lift more Ugandans out of subsistence agriculture and into more profitable economic activities. He also called for the establishment of a national “goal consensus” to guide front-line implementers and deter “budget games,” emphasizing the importance of rallying the country toward agreed-upon development goals.
Ambassador Philip Idro, associated with the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) initiative, drew lessons from other countries and advocated for the promotion of agri-public-private partnerships. He emphasized the need to address impediments to factors of production, including land, labor, and capital, at all levels.
Dr. Ggoobi highlighted that increasing the productivity of farming and farming households is the quickest and most inclusive route to boost savings and investment in the economy for socioeconomic transformation.
Commercialization and formalization of agriculture were seen as the most cost-effective ways to enhance the contribution of agricultural commodity value chains to economic growth and structural transformation. Dr. Ggoobi also noted the need to focus on other pillars of wealth creation beyond monetary aspects.
At the conference, it was recognized that the success of smallholder farmers is critical in the entire agricultural value chain. Several resolutions were made, including cooperation between the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and the Ministry of Lands to address land titling issues and capitalize the land fund.
MoFPED was urged to support agencies driving the wealth creation agenda, assist coffee exporters, promote agricultural research, especially in coffee, and capitalize the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) and Uganda Development Bank (UDB).
Dr. Ggoobi mentioned various funds allocated for wealth creation, including the Parish Development Model (UGX 1.1 trillion for FY 2023/24), Uganda Development Bank (UGX 1.4 trillion deployed), Uganda Development Corporation (UGX 1.02 trillion invested), and the Agricultural Credit Facility (UGX 890 billion deployed). Other funds included INVITE (USD 218 million), GROW (USD 217 million), projects under various ministries worth millions of dollars, and private equity investments totaling 1.22 billion dollars.
The 2nd Uganda Development Forum conference brought together stakeholders to chart a path for effective end-to-end agricultural value chains, recognizing the critical role of smallholder farmers in this process.