CDA INSIGHTS

Ethiopia’s Industrial Park Strategy: An Insight into the Political Economy of East African Developmental States

After nine years of construction, water has begun to fill a reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a $4.5 billion hydropower project viewed as essential to Ethiopia’s future. While intending to provide electricity to the estimated 60% of households currently without access to power, the Dam is also seen as an important source of energy reliability for the ...
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Industrial Policy for Economic Transformation in Uganda

This blog post is a reproduction of the Executive Summary of Reality Check 12: industrial Policy for Economic Transformation in Uganda. The full PDF version of the Executive Summary is downloadable here Introduction Effective industrial policy has been at the core of virtually every economic transformation success story around the world. After three decades of neoliberal economic management, and faced ...
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Uganda’s Economic Response to Covid-19: The case for immediate household relief

IN BRIEF: This policy brief, published with the support of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Uganda & South Sudan recommends that social protection should be at the centre of Uganda’s socio-economic strategy in responding to the impacts of COVID-19. The paper recommends that the government explore the several channels to ensure that vulnerable populations are cushioned from a potential livelihoods disaster following the ...
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Unlocking the development potential of Uganda’s Civil Society

This CDA Insights post is based on our recently-published Reality Check 11: Civil Society in Uganda, a deep dive into analysing the public discourse on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Uganda and their evolution over the last 30 years. The study finds the current CSO landscape lacking in impact, and proposes ways in which the ecosystem can be reformed for ...
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What’s in it for SMEs? Rethinking small business taxation

In November 2019, CDA published the first instalment of its new Economic Policy Paper Series: What’s in it for SMEs? Rethinking small business taxation. This insights post distills the paper's main findings. Joseph1 runs two private schools in central Kampala. He pays his taxes not because it’s the right thing to do, but because he is afraid of retribution. He ...
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A market systems approach to financial inclusion: Going beyond supply and demand

Playing the game “Joel… You have to take your brother”, my mother would tell me when I went to play basketball with my friends. Bringing my younger brother always felt like drudgery. It always ended the same way: he would try to play with the big boys, have trouble understanding the rules, make technical errors and get completely outplayed. It ...
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A New Business Model for Sustainable Rural Electrification

Over the past several months, CDA has been supporting a team of researchers from the University of Oxford and University of Cape Town to conduct the RISE: Renewable, Innovative and Scalable Electrification project. RISE explores new models of energy provision in rural Uganda and Zambia. Three principal areas of investigation guide the study: (1) How can innovative business models sustainably ...
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Agro-Processing: A Gateway to Inclusive Structural Transformation in Uganda?

Agro-processing is an important opportunity for inclusive economic transformation1 in Uganda. "Agro-processing” relates to the processing of agricultural products (crops and livestock, fisheries, and forestry) to generate added value, no matter the scale or complexity of the manufacturing process. The agro-processing industry is taken to include food and drinks, tobacco, leather processing, cotton ginning, textile, cloth, leather and footwear manufacture, ...
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Insights & Advice for Ugandan Entrepreneurs

We recently sat down with Ronald Mukasa, Business Development Manager at Enterprise Uganda, who shared insights on entrepreneurship, job creation and business success in Uganda. It is often said that Uganda is the most entrepreneurial country in the world, yet many businesses do not make it past their first birthday. What unconventional entrepreneurship advice can you share with entrepreneurs? It ...
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Transforming Ethiopia: the only way is up and the only time is now

Ethiopia is not a mineral-rich country. Ethiopia’s greatest endowments are its people, its waters and its fertile lands1. Repeated colonial incursions into Ethiopia’s sphere of influence by the ferenjis – the Europeans that had colonised almost all of the rest of Africa – brought about a realisation among Ethiopia’s late 19th and 20th century’s rulers. If Ethiopia was going to ...
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Meat roasters Cover photo

Tackling Uganda’s employment challenge

This post is the third of a 3-part series on Uganda’s employment challenge. The creation of decent employment at scale must be Uganda’s number one priority. UBOS’ most reliable statistics tell us that large-scale underemployment and vulnerable employment in the informal sector affect the majority of labour force participants, there are critical and growing unemployment levels in Kampala, and ...
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What Is Uganda’s Employment Challenge?

This post is the second of a 3-part series on Uganda’s employment challenge. Everybody agrees that something urgently needs to be done about Uganda’s employment situation. It is time to take the bull by the horns, but first we need to find the bull. The previous post lamented about the current public discourse, in which a deafening chorus of reports ...
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Why everyone is wrong about youth unemployment in Uganda

This post is the first of a 3-part series on Uganda’s employment challenge. The question of jobs has slowly but surely risen to the top of the public discourse in Uganda. Safety, corruption, oil, sexuality, infrastructure, government reshuffles and a host of other issues come in waves to dominate headlines. But most analysts agree that the big elephant in the ...
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Turning Down Hand-Me-Downs: The global politics of the used clothing ban in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda

Global power dynamics matter for domestic industrial policy. It seems straightforward, but the exercise of influence by big economic powerhouses is often deliberately obscured. In addition, it matters differently in different times and places. The complicated fate of the East African Community’s (EAC) recent ban on the importation of used clothing aptly illustrates the involvement of global actors in African ...
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Uganda Should Go For Concentrated Solar, Not Nuclear

Uganda aims to be a middle-income country by 2040. The government’s Uganda Vision 2040 policy has identified the requirement to increase installed power generation capacity in order to enable economic development. The policy intends to make nuclear energy the dominant generation technology in Uganda, posing a 24 GW nuclear energy target by 2040. This figure is noteworthy given that the ...
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Historicizing the Hustle: What Kenya’s Colonial Legacy Tells Us About Poverty in African Cities

“Us, we are hustlers,” they tell me in chorus. “We’ve come to Nairobi just to hustle”. Peter, Sam, Nicholas and James moved to Nairobi between 10 and 25 years ago. They report to work at 6am every morning to pull mkokoteni, or handcarts; bringing fruit, vegetables, and jerry cans of water to and from markets. When hired, they share the ...
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It’s Time To Bet The Farm On It: A Look at Uganda’s Agri-Food System

Agriculture in Uganda is in a state of paradox: its huge commercial growth potential lies juxtaposed with its highly fragmented nature. The sector is ripe with high-value business prospects which lie just beyond the reach of many local small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Commercially viable SMEs comprise the backbone of nearly all modern agricultural systems throughout developed and emerging markets. How ...
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Reality Check: Powering Uganda’s Transformation

This study explores the relationship between energy and economic transformation in Uganda. Commissioned by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and carried out by the Centre for Development Alternatives, it forms the tenth edition of the Reality Check publication series. It examines to what extent Uganda’s energy system currently drives or hinders economic transformation, identifies the greatest constraints hindering the energy system from being ...
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