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OWEYEGHA AFUNADUULA: Does Intellectual capital matter?: the case of Uganda

If there is academic ranking of Universities, there is also intellectual capital ranking of universities and countries. If academic ranking matters so much in the world of academics, intellectual capital ranking of both universities and countries matters even more in the broader area of competitiveness, innovation, development and progress. It matters today more than yesterday and more tomorrow than today. As Leif Edvinsson (2010) wrote, intellectual capital is much more about quality of education and human experience.

Hence the idea of intellectual capital performance, or value added, to University.

But as Universities have been more and more worried about their academic ranking, they have tended to emphasise scholasticism and academicism, far less so intellectual capital of their academia. In away the mindset is that many are better than a few, but this is compromising quality, unfortunately.

Makerere now boasts of nearly 40,000 registered students, some a accommodated in Halls of Residence in the university; many are non-residents. I will not explore how much and how this has compromised the quality of education and human experience. That will be for another article another time.

In his influential book “National Intellectual Capital: A Comparison of 40 Countries, Leif Edvinsson (2010), states:

“Simply building more Universities and getting more students into higher education will not create intellectual capital unless the economy can provide graduates with relevant jobs,;or the environment to set up innovative companies”.

I consider this statement critical as far as Uganda is concerned. There is now prolific output of graduates but there are no jobs, let alone relevant jobs for them. We are just producing more and more graduates whom we never planned for. We cannot reason that it is because of the high rise population of Uganda. China with over 1 billion people does not have unemployment problem.

Acctualy these are increasingly the front office of innovation and development.

In a way Uganda is bleeding in terms of intellectual wealth. Unfortunately, in Uganda it is politicians who get huge incomes for enormous consumption and little work.

This a case of exacerbated intellectual poverty institutionalised.

Previous human experience has shown this is an elephant-sized falsehood.

I have seen some interesting articles by academics at Makerere University Business School MUBS).

One is by Komukama, N. et. al. ( 2010) on ” Intellectual Capital and Financial Performance in Uganda’s Microfinance Institutions”. Another is by Kurutaro Nkundabanyanga, et. al. (2012) on ” Intellectual Intellectual Capital in Ugandan Service Firms as Mediator of Board Governance and Firm Performance”. While Intellectual capital can be of much academic interest, it should be more of practical interest across the University-public divide.

They have supersonically raised their intellectual wealth , aided by the Cyber and computer age

By 2008, the top 10 countries in terms of intellectual wealth (intellectual capital) were, in this order: Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, US, Singapore, Iceland, Netherlands and Canada. Note that among these, only Singapore in position 6 was not a Western Country.

Let’s hope that with corruption and the corrupt defeated, it may displace South Korea and China from the top. That will be a big feat for Singapore if it happens. That is where real progress took place.

Unfortunately, the Western Countries may fair badly this year following the Russian military invasion of Ukraine so early in 2022. Other Asian economic Tigers may overtake the Western Countries in terms of intellectual capital. For Africa the priorities seem to be different: power acquisition, power retention and primitive accumulation of wealth.

and that innovation and knowledge are the new measures of competitiveness, development, progress and prosperity. And priorities must change away from power acquisition, power retention and primitive accumulation of wealth.