Rehema and Aida

Two staff from the Economic Research Centre (EPRC) attended the International Autumn School and workshop on applied industrial policy theory, empirics and instruments for effective policy design in Ankara, Turkey from 15th to 17th October 2019.

Ms. Aida Nattabi Kibirige a research analyst and Ms. Rehema Kahunde, a research associate represented the centre at the workshop organised by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Ostim Technical University with lead coordinators being Prof. Murat Yulek (Rector, Ostim Technical University) and Dr. Piergiuseppe Fortunato (Economist UNCTAD).

The objective of the autumn school and workshop was to provide an overview of the process of structural transformation and its linkages to development, and to equip participants with knowledge of the key policy instruments that could accelerate the gradual transformation of the economic structure of a given economy.

The workshop’s target participants were researchers from universities and research centers and civil servants interested in structural transformation and industrial policy, hence the invitation to Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC). Applicants were required to have advanced knowledge of economic development and trade theory alongside familiarity with statistics and econometric analysis, hence the chosen representatives (Rehema and Aida).

After an introduction to the topic and the discussion of constraints to structural transformation and development, the workshop covered different areas of modern applied industrial policy, focusing in particular on the role of industrial policy in open economy, on innovation and education policy and on the challenges posed by international production networks and industry.

Group discussions during the workshop offered participants an opportunity to apply the theoretical notions and empirical techniques to the context of Uganda. The EPRC researchers presented the key constraints to industrial policy in Uganda and among the points raised were the political interferences/ risks like corruption, poor infrastructure like roads, ICT, and electricity, limited access to credit due to high commercial bank lending rates to the private sector which hinder investments and skills mismatch due to a more theoretical than practical education curriculum.

In the quest to address some of the discussed challenges above, group members suggested support to alternative lending institutions like micro finance institutions and Savings and credit Cooperatives and lowering taxes on commercial banks to check the high lending rates. Support to vocational training institutions and university-industry partnerships through internships were suggested as a possible solutions to the theoretical nature of the curriculum. More infrastructural development and measures to address corruption were also suggested.

End

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