By William Kituuka
The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, declared 2004 a “Year of innovation” for his country. He was promoting a new innovative culture which he made his top priority. Put together, he said, politics, business and Science can get the innovation offensive rolling.
Within the framework of Agenda 2010, Schroeder wanted to boost investment in research, education and training for a future in which knowledge, as a raw material, would increasingly become a crucial asset.
The German Government raised the research budget by more than 20% since 1998. A venture capital fund was launched and a top notch panel of experts created.
These ‘partners for innovation’ were meeting regularly in Berlin; putting their heads together; the leading personalities from politics, business and Science wanted to identify the all decisive markets of the future.
A survey conducted in spring of 2004 among over 500 international companies by Ernst and Young (which has more than 85,000 employees world wide) ranked Germany third among the best business locations in the world; behind the United States and China – and it is number one in Europe. Germany has an ideal infrastructure, excellent qualifications in the work force, a large domestic market, high productivity and efficient research and development.
The above are decisive factors in order for foreign companies to invest.
As Uganda is at the cross roads in its development struggle, there are good lessons to learn from, among others; Germany. If these lessons are internalized properly and provided for in the yearly planning hence budgets, chances are that the country may slowly but steadily look to a more promising future.