Development Minerals in Uganda
Employment creation in Uganda has come under the spotlight. Uganda has one of the youngest and most rapidly growing populations in the world, with 53% of the population younger than 15 and about 0.5 million Ugandans entering the labor force annually. The mining and quarrying sector is projected to be a major driver of employment and GDP growth in the attainment of the country's Vision 2040; with the launching of large infrastructure and housing projects.
The launching of large infrastructure and housing projects is seen as one way to engage the new entrants into the labour force through the paving, rehabilitation and maintenance of the existing 30,000km of roads and the construction of more than 3,000km of new tarmac to link the neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, Uganda has a goal to construct 1.6 million housing units by the year 2020. Artisanal and small scale miners in Uganda supply commodities such as sand, gypsum, clay, granite, marble and aggregate for the construction and infrastructure sectors.
According to the small-scale miners who participated in the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme National Consultation Workshop in August 2016, the supply of construction materials and dimension stones is constrained by environmental, social and economic challenges and a fluid legal and regulatory environment. While calling for the provision of systematic extension services and structured capacity development opportunities, the miners expressed support for the recent decision to review the Minerals Policy and the Mining Act to better account for the Development Minerals sector.