Youths take the next step to form a cooperative

Egessa Hajusu

The unfavorable economic conditions in the country, have compelled a section of youths in the shoe making industry in Kampala to turn their businesses into a cooperative.

“The current system of capitalism has done more harm than good,” said adding the system has increased income disparity and depressed the country’s development.

Otafire is a twenty five years old graduate in ethics and human rights from Makerere University, who runs an African sandals making workshop in Kikoni Makerere, which started in 2013.

Taxes are very high, getting in business is impossible which explains why many businesses started by young entrepreneurs have collapsed, Otafire told the Cooperator in a telephone interview.

Given the tough nature of doing business it hasn’t been easy for him and his co- founder Haris Akampulira it has taken their business three years to take off.

Samples of the African sandles they make in Kikoni

Now that the business is self-sustaining, we feel it is high time we opened it up to allow 50% of  young people interested in joining to buy shares so that the business can transition into a cooperative model.

He says Kampala cooperative Union as it is to be called will diversify business from industry to real estate, insurance, health and education.

“We can use the cooperative as a vehicle to get through the complex economic system in the country, so as to get space to participate in economic development.

Otafire strongly believes that given the three years’ experience of hardship they have gone through, they can achieve much if they get organised through self-help and solidarity under a cooperative.

He however, concedes that they lack knowledge on how to transition their business into a cooperative.

He says when they sought for advice they were referred to seasoned Cooperator Leonard Okello the executive director Uhuru training institute.

Otafire who is scheduled to meet Leonard Okello the executive director Uhuru Institute for Social Development, today (Monday) acknowledges that he is yarning to benefit from his wealth of experience, in the cooperative movement.

He particularly wants to know how the cooperative will work and benefit the shareholders.

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