Launch of the VET Toolbox to support European Investment in Uganda

Co-founded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union, the VET Toolbox is a consortium of leading European development agencies spearheaded by Enabel including the British Council (UK), Enabel (Belgium), Expertise France (France), GIZ (Germany), LuxDev (Luxembourg) and AFD (France) to help improve and support European investment for job creation, employment, better household incomes through identifying, addressing and filling skills gaps. The main purpose of the VET Toolbox establishment is to enhance the delivery of demand-driven skills while catering to investment needs in selected sub-Saharan African countries

The launch ceremony held in Kampala was attended by key stakeholders and government officials who are critical partners in the success of the initiative. The Acting Assistant Commissioner, Bio-Energy, Mr. John Tumuhimbise from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, and the Deputy Director and Head of Department/ Assessment and Certification -Directorate of Industrial Training at the Ministry of Education and Sports – Mr. Micheal Okumu were in attendance. Representing the Initiative was the Head of Programme, GIZ Energy and Climate Programme Mr. David Otieno, the Head of VET Toolbox-Ms. Bartelijne van den Boogert and the Head of Cooperation European Union Ms. Caroline Adriaensen.

Uganda in addition to five other African countries will be a beneficiary of the VET Toolbox initiative which will be implemented by the GIZ Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) programme. The initiative has identified rural electrification through solar mini-grids as the key priority sector for the VET Toolbox activities in which Uganda’s youth will be skilled and upskilled to prepare them for job creation and sustainable employment with a regional focus in Lamwo and Mpigi districts. The key focus of the VET Toolbox shall be on supporting the set-up of solar-based mini-grids and solar home kits through skills development efforts, leveraging the creation of access to electricity in rural areas. The initiative will also support the development and introduction of practical training modules and curricula for PV system maintenance and productive use of energy at Vocational Training Institutions (VTIs) in northern Uganda. The establishment of VTIs will require that the capacities of the VTI instructors are strengthened to enable them to train technicians on the design, installation, and maintenance of solar PV systems.

While speaking at the launch, Ms. Caroline Adriaensen, the Head of Cooperation, European Union (EU) affirmed that selected businesses would undergo a business diagnostic to identify constraints limiting their growth and thereafter a series of training would follow in areas of technical assistance, market development, innovation, digitalization, quality management, and most importantly access to finance.EU and  Sustainable Business for Uganda Platform (SB4U) shall establish a Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) which will be the entry point to bring both public & private sector actors together for open discussions whose outcome will be documented for further follow-up discussions with the technical working group. GIZ’s E4D Uganda team leader, Mr. Donald Agaba, affirmed the potential of the project which shall train 100 people as solar technicians placing them in better positions find gainful employment while 300 beneficiaries shall be targeted to train in the Productive use of Energy.

In concluding the launch, an open discussion was conducted and participants shared concerns about the quality of solar products currently flooding Uganda’s market and the government was called on to enforce existing laws for quality measures.