Ugandans Rise up to the Economic Challenge during COVID-19

In March, the Corona virus that begun in Wuhan China was pronounced a pandemic posing a threat to the whole world. The President of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni then pronounced a lock down on the whole country, sending students back home, public transport put on hold, and work places temporarily shut down. Many begun to wonder where they would get income to feed their children and families. One Habiba. Nalubega says, “Since some of my relatives could not support themselves, they had to come to stay with us.” She continued to say that the cost of living had increased and yet their shop from which they earned a living was still closed.

Such is the case for many Ugandans but also some rose up to the challenge and begun to build new businesses and ideas. Jennifer. Anek, 26 year old citizen of Ugandan said, “During the lock down I realised I have always had a passion to cook, so I began a catering business; Jenny’s Kitchen.” She continued to say that with the help of her phone and the internet, she posted a few pictures of her delicious meals which caught the eye of many and they began to make orders. With time the business grew. “Now cook for small events like baby showers, birthdays and more.”

Many Ugandans had to take up the challenge to learn how to use the internet and scout for customers. I ordered an Uber and for the first time my driver was a lady. When I asked her how long she had been working for Uber, she confirmed that she begun during the lock down. “I heard from a friend that people are being recruited to work for Uber, so I signed up to work instead of sitting at home lamenting about the situation.”To many the Pandemic has been a blow in face after jotting down New Year resolutions and having to put them on hold. But, for those who refused the situation to keep them down, they have tried out something new. John Robert a student from Makerere University doing business says that this period gave him a chance to develop a foundation that seeks to reach out to the community with specific interest in children. “We have given food to children in the ghetto during this period,” he says.
“The period has also taught me more about the business world and job market more than class has.” he continued to say. Running a marketing agency, he and his colleagues have been able to adapt to new marketing channels that is to say digital marketing, increasing sales for many businesses, branding and customer engagement.
As goods are not being imported anymore, more so from China which and been Uganda’s main source of products, market for locally manufactured goods is now available. It is also a call to the media to give locals publicity for their products to raise Uganda and Africa economically.