The Irish Aid Uganda mission strategy 2016-2020 recognised that Uganda’s population is very young, with 56.7% of the population below 18 years of age. Many households have a high dependency ratio making it harder to exit from poverty, and this large young population creates a high demand for services, particularly for health and education. A large young population has potential to contribute to economic development as an emerging labour pool. However, the low levels of educational attainment, the skills gaps between education and the labour market and inadequate levels of job creation combine to create high levels of unemployment, poverty and increased risks of conflict and insecurity.
The skills development initiative under Irish Aid's education programme presents an opportunity to address the youth unemployment problem but also address issues of income, environment sustainability and climate change through green skills and green jobs, food security and nutrition in the long term.