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Media


Lessons from Japan’s rapid economic growth

Japan’s economy recovered quickly after the devastations of WWII. During the war Japan’s lost 40 percent of its industrial capacity and was subsequently occupied by the United States that made important political and economic changes. The economic system was liberalized. Economic recovery received priority in part in an attempt to contain the expansion of communism in Asia. The security and economic umbrella provided to Japan by the US accelerated economic growth.

Additionally Japan’s political and economic leaders were determined to join the club of industrialized countries. Ipso facto they rejected the comparative advantage of engaging in the production of low wage and instead embraced capital-intensive and high-tech production. The government largely through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI) and Ministry of Finance played a significant role in directing the economy. This involved setting priorities and protecting infant or ailing industries through subsidies, guiding investments and managing the foreign trade process.

The government mobilized resources for industrial growth. Industrial protection was accompanied by strict protection of domestic markets for finished products. Japan products also benefited from relatively open access to foreign markets.

“More important were efforts [by government] at organizing industries to achieve lower costs, defining national priorities in technological development, and developing national plans to share the risks associated with corporate decisions”(Thomas D. Lairson and David Skidmore 1997). A large pool of trained and retained human power also helped in this Japanese rapid economic growth. How much of this is currently being done in developing countries including Uganda?

 

Foreign aid under attack

“Critics [of foreign aid have] increasingly questioned the purpose, philosophy and methods of those who dispensed and received development assistance. Some charge that aid is a tool for serving the political and economic interests of donor countries. Moreover, aid props repressive Third World governments, worsens inequality, and destroys the environment. Others attack aid as a needless and costly subsidy that sustains bloated Third World bureaucracies and discourages recipient governments from carrying out needed policy reforms or supporting private sector growth. Both left and right condemn the inefficiency and corruption that too often plague foreign aid”(Thomas D. Lairson and David Skidmore 1997). What are your thoughts?

Education key to economic and social transformation and sustainability

From time immemorial education has played a major role in transformation of societies and landscapes. Education has been valued and supported through public and private efforts. Individuals or families have donated land, materials like books, computers, laboratory equipment and/or money. In countries or societies where the culture of giving is treasured many schools, universities and institutes have been built or expanded through donations. Some donate labor during construction or maintenance time, others offer their skills like architects or engineers and yet others provide advice in designing the curriculum and/or money. This is the spirit of giving for free in the interest of the common good. You don’t have to be rich. You just need to have the spirit of giving a bit of what you have as we do during church service. It is voluntary.

It is in this spirit that my family built a church in our community in Rwentondo Parish of Kagunga sub-county of Rujumbura county of Rukungiri district in southwest Uganda.

As I announced recently, I have decided on behalf of my family to donate free of charge land in Kebisoni in Rukungiri district to build a university or institute. The land is available immediately once the formalities have been completed through a memorandum of understanding or something like that that constitutes a binding agreement.

It is proposed that this project should be managed by a Board of Trustees consisting of government, private sector, youth/student and my family representatives. The Board should determine in consultation with the public what courses should be taught. However, whatever is taught must include theory and good practices to give graduates knowledge and skills to fit into the labor market that has become globalized and compete successfully anywhere in the world. The teaching should be designed in such a manner that graduates can start their own enterprises provided facilitation arrangements such as credit and/or technology on reasonable terms are put in place.

I call on the government of Uganda, Rukungiri District Council, Rukungiri Members of Parliament, business sector, youth and civil society organizations to champion this worthy cause in the interest of humanity initially serving students in the Great Lakes region.

Until the Board of Trustees has been created I shall continue to be the focal point for this project. I can be reached on this page, or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . All suggestions are welcome.

For God and My Country

Eric Kashambuzi

May 31, 2015

 

Education of girls and empowerment of women easy passage to small family size

Since my graduate student days at the University of California Berkeley in 1969-71, I have argued endlessly without much success that the easiest and least controversial way to undertake family planning is through the education of girls that empowers women to manage their reproductive behavior without pressure from anybody including spouses. But many individuals and institutions continue to prefer contraception including pills and surgery (sterilization and vasectomy).

The Uganda Parliament recently passed legislation forcing Uganda couples to have no more than three children. This is a violation of human rights for couples to have the number of children they want. That education and empowerment of women hastens reduction of family size can be seen from Iran following the end of war with Iraq.

In Iran women education was a key factor in family planning. “[F]emale education. Not just primary and secondary, but university. In 1975, barely a third of Iranian women could read. In 2012, more than 60 percent of Iranian university students were female. The literacy for females twenty-six and under was 96 percent. Giving women control over their wombs and their education made it increasingly hard to deny them the workplace. By 2012, one-third of government employees in Iran were women”. The acceptance rate of family planning was so high that within two years of implementation, “Iran’s demographers were disbelieving their own numbers”(Alan Weisman 2013).

This is what needs to be done in Uganda. Give girls education that keeps them at school including by providing school lunch. With quality education women will be empowered and determine their reproductive behavior in favor of small family size.

United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda

As I have been reporting the United Nations is preparing the post-2015 development agenda that will run from 2016 through 2030. Below are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will form an integral part of the agenda. Other parts are the introduction/declaration, means of implementation and monitoring, review and evaluation.

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

The 17 goals have 169 targets.

Those wishing to read the brief description of each goal please access UN Chronicle: Beyond 2015. Volume LI: Number 4. 2014.

When finalized and adopted by world leaders at the September 2015 Summit in New York City, the agenda will be integrated into national programs so that its implementation begins on January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2030.

Eric Kashambuzi

May 6, 2015

 

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