The Swedish support to increased opportunities for poor people to contribute to and benefit from economic growth and obtain good education integrates competitiveness, productive employment for youth and women, and access to and control of productive resources for women. The portfolio composition has so far contributed to inclusive growth mainly through interventions targeting the rural agricultural sector with specific focus on women and youth. This has increasingly been done in collaboration with the private sector.
The agriculture sector in Northern Uganda is highly fragmented, meaning that investments, productivity and income remain low. As result economic growth remains sluggish and food insecurity high. Sweden has therefore since 2015 supported Mercy Corps, which is committed to improving economic growth and food security in the northern Uganda. The project focusing on providing improved access to agricultural services and commodity markets, as well as providing financial skills and training in business. Mercy Corps cooperates with the private sector and focuses on buying and exporting organic products such as sesame and cotton. The support has resulted in effective training and 45 000 farmers have gained a more proficiency in economics and 1200 farmers have been linked with appropriate service providers by 2016. New innovations to increase agricultural productivity have also evolved which has shown positive results for women and children. The conditions for job creations have thus improved, which generates revenue and in turn economic growth.
To address the challenges in the Ugandan decentralized energy market and make use of new opportunities and innovations now emerging, UNCDF, through the CleanStart Programme, is implementing a Renewable Energy Challenge Fund (RECF) with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala.
RECF aims to support 153,000 low-income customers transition to renewable energy, of which at least 50 percent are women and 50 percent are youth. RECF further aims to create 1,000 new jobs, of which at least 60 percent of these jobs are for women and 40 percent, are for youth (the women and youth groups may overlap e.g. female youth sales agent). This will be done through the energy enterprises and also through new livelihood opportunities with renewable energy. Up to 160,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions is expected to be off-set as a result. In terms of market development, CleanStart aims to support a target of 15 renewable energy SMEs which will continue to serve the community after the project period ends and demonstrate the viability of clean energy companies. The long-term vision for RECF is to become a stand-alone facility for development partners to provide coordinated, market-catalysing support to energy SMEs in Uganda, and contribute to one of Government of Uganda’s energy sector priorities which is to increase access to modern energy services through rural electrification and renewable energy development.