Saturday, December 25, 2010


While many politicians have benefited from donor funding to Uganda and are having a big do this Christmas, pastoral women like those in the picture are still out of the picture

The State of Uganda: Museveni Gives Speech to Parliament
Thursday, June 3, 2010
By rharshbarger

President Museveni gave a two-hour State of the Union address to the government’s eighth Parliament, describing Uganda’s growth in the past year, elections next year, and the country’s road ahead. The Daily Monitor reported on June 3, 2010.

Some highlights:
-President Museveni said elections would take place as scheduled next year, despite calls by the opposition to potentially boycott the polls if there is not a leadership change at the Electoral Commission. Museveni defended the Electoral Commission’s chief Baddru Kiggundu, and said he was a “consensus” candidate when appointed in 2002, supported by opposition and the NRM.
-Uganda’s economy grew at a rate of 8.3 percent last year, and tax revenue rose to $2.5 billion USD, up from $3.5 million when President Museveni’s regime took over in 1986. The president said he would focus the budget’s priorities on expanding the national power grid, building and repairing the road infrastructure, and rebuild the country’s referral hospitals. Last year, the average Ugandan earned $540 last year (sh1,080,000).
-The president warned donors not to get involved in Uganda’s elections next year, and urged opposition leaders to work out grievances within Uganda, rather than with countries that finance Uganda’s budget. “We do not need help on elections. Elections are a simple exercise,” President Museveni said. ”Africa does not need lectures on what we fought for.” The U.S. Congress sent a directive to the U.S. State Department to closely monitor Uganda’s elections next year earlier this year, after approving $70.6 million in development assistance.

Opposition responds
Norbert Mao responded to President Museveni's speech.
New Vision reported that opposition leaders criticized President Museveni for attacking Uganda’s donors, and argued that his state of the Union speech did not emphasize corruption enough. ”He considers us weak because he does not want to leave power,” said Democratic Party candidate Norbert Mao, after the speech. ”He accuses us of being irrational yet our demands are reasonable. The Electoral Commission is not neutral.”
“We never said the elections will not be there,” said Ken Lukyamuzi, candidate for the Conservative Party, responding to President Museveni’s defense of Baddru Kiggundu. ”However, we are entitled to free and fair elections.”

The Uganda Finance Minister Syda Bumba and European Union Ambassador exchange signatures on sealing a deal

The table below shows EC cooperation with Uganda for 8th to 10th EDF, as well as the budget breakdown between the focal and other sectors.

Uganda's budget is highly dependent on donor assistance. The World Bank is the largest donor to Uganda. Other multilateral donors include the United Nations Development Program, UNAIDS, United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, and the European Union. The United Kingdom is the leading bilateral donor to Uganda and focuses on justice, agriculture, environment, education, health, and public administration. The United States is the third ranking donor to Uganda, playing a key role in donor coordination as chair of sector working groups addressing conflict in northern Uganda, the Parliament, democratic processes, the ART Financing Committee, the Microfinance Forum, and the Private Sector International Donor Group.


Budget Summary

The Development Challenge: It has been 15 years since Uganda began the long road to economic recovery following two decades of economic chaos and civil unrest. The Ugandan economy achieved an impressive 7.2% annual growth during the 1990s. This was the result of the re-establishment of law and order and macroeconomic stability, the rehabilitation of major infrastructure, market liberalization, including opening up the economy to external trade, the liberalization of input markets, and the liberalization of export markets in coffee, cotton, and tea. The annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate dropped from an average of 6.3% in 1998-2003 to 5.8% in 2003-2004. This slowdown has been reflected in poverty indicators. According to the latest figures from the 2002-3 National Household Survey, the population in poverty increased from 34% in 2000 to 38% in 2003, or nine million people today living on less than $1 a day, compared to 7.8 million in 2000. Households that depend on agriculture are among the largest group of impoverished Ugandans. The escalation of armed conflict in northern Uganda has resulted in a sharp increase in the spread of poverty in the North, as well as in the neighboring districts of eastern Uganda. While strong GDP growth caused poverty to decline steadily from 56% in 1992 to 34% in 2000, the benefits of that growth were not equitably distributed across the population, with troubling regional and ethnic disparities. The disturbing rise in inequality over the past six years indicates there are serious underlying structural problems, with the benefits of economic growth going disproportionately to the wealthiest 20% of the population. Uganda's 3.4% population growth rate continues to erode economic gains, deepen poverty, and negatively affect other achievements in the social sectors. Population growth cut deeply into per capita GDP, which was estimated at $250 by the World Bank in its 2004 World Development Report. Although Uganda is considered a success story in terms of HIV/AIDS, with national prevalence rates estimated at 4.1%, it still faces many challenges on this issue, particularly in the north where prevalence rates are estimated to be 11.9%.

Although Uganda was selected as a Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Country, it faces real challenges in addressing low marks for corruption and ruling justly. Uganda is still ranked in the "rampant" range in the Corruption Perception Index with a score of 2.6 (out of 10), which is only slightly better than scores of 2.1 in 2002, and 2.2 in 2003. President Museveni's apparent intended run for a third presidential term in 2006 does not encourage a platform for pluralism, and increased corruption related to election activities is a concern shared by many Ugandans and the international community. Despite continued security threats posed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), recent military successes by the Ugandan People's Defense Force and expressions of willingness by both the GOU and the LRA to talk have prompted USAID and other donors to begin planning for a post-conflict period. U.S. interests in Uganda are twofold. Uganda is a critical player in the region in leading efforts to address regional conflicts peacefully; development and political stability in Uganda is key to East Africa's integration into the global marketplace.

The USAID Program: The overall goal of the USAID program is to assist Uganda to reduce mass poverty. The three strategic objectives address economic growth, improved human capacity, and effective governance. The economic growth objective addresses food security and sustainable agriculture, environmental degradation, trade and investment. It is designed to boost economic growth, restructure and revitalize Ugandan exports, curb environmental degradation, and enhance food security for vulnerable populations, including those affected by HIV/AIDS. This program supports Presidential Initiatives to End Hunger in Africa and Global Climate Change. The second objective, improved human capacity, will reduce vulnerability to poverty by improving the health and education status. The program will help to ensure the delivery of prevention, treatment, care and support services for those living with HIV/AIDS; reduce Uganda's high population growth and fertility rate; and mitigate infant and child mortality due to preventable infectious diseases. Improving the quality of basic education and primary school completion rates are critical objectives of the program. USAID's human capacity program also supports the Africa Education Initiative and focuses on providing education to marginalized communities. The third objective, effective governance, addresses problems of accountability and improved legislative oversight, increased political pluralism, district-level management, and the informed participation of civil society in processes of governance at both the national and local levels. The program also seeks to reduce the impact of conflict in selected areas of Uganda by promoting reconciliation and reintegration, peace dialogues, and support for vulnerable children and victims of torture.

Other Program Elements: Displaced Children and Orphans Funds provide war-affected children in northern and western Uganda, formerly abducted children, child mothers, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) with counseling and vocational training. Victims of Torture Funds are used to rehabilitate and reintegrate adults and children who have been abducted, and physically and/or psychologically abused by rebel forces. Funds from USAID's Bureau for Africa's Conflict Fund and USAID's Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation are used to mitigate and manage the causes and consequences of conflict and promote reconciliation at the local and national levels.

In 2004, the P.L. 480 Title II emergency food aid provided by the United States was 60% of the total food aid distributed by the World Food Program to 1.6 million IDPs in conflict-affected areas of Uganda. P.L. 480 Title II non-emergency food aid is distributed to nearly 90,000 food insecure people affected by HIV/AIDS and malnourished children, as well as participants in Food-for-Work activities. Food aid proceeds funded food security activities, directly benefiting 110,000 poor rural families (about 660,000 people). USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) provides for the humanitarian needs of 1.52 million IDPs throughout northern Uganda. In FY 2004, USAID granted $9 million to 12 humanitarian aid agencies that bring significant additional matching resources.

Through the Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade (EGAT), the Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Uganda focuses on increasing the productivity of farmer organizations; improving technical and management capacity of producer associations and cooperatives; increasing agricultural trade at the domestic, regional and international levels; and long-term food security, by promoting on-farm natural resource management practices. EGAT also supports gorilla conservation activities, including trans-boundary programs in the Virunga Volcanoes.

In Uganda, USAID is funding a number of information and communication technology Global Development Alliances (GDAs). Through the Leland Initiative, USAID is partnering with Cisco Systems to train Ugandans to install and maintain modern computer networks. USAID also partners with Unigraphics Corporation to train engineering students to use leading edge technology in computerized manufacturing and, with U.S. and African universities, African and U.S. regulatory experts, the British Department for International Development and others, to provide Masters Degree training to a large number of telecommunications policy makers and regulators. An alliance with Hewlett Packard has piloted remote transaction systems with three microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Uganda, two of which registered 562 and 350 new savings clients respectively in the first four months. USAID is supporting a partnership with the Grameen Foundation, MTN Phone Company, and seven local MFIs to launch the MTN Village Phone initiative, which brings the benefits of telecommunications to the rural areas of Uganda.

Uganda is a focus country under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. FY 2005 funding will be provided from the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative under the policy direction of the U.S. Global AIDS coordinator. The FY 2006 HIV/AIDS request for this country is contained in the Global HIV/AIDS Initiative account justification. For further details please see the Department of State FY 2006 Congressional Budget Justification.

The Dutch government has frozen over 40 billion shillings in direct aid for Uganda due to increasing cases of dictatorship and corruption in East Arica’s third economy.

In a statement, the Dutch government explains that the move is a coordinated Western donors’ response to the government’s slow progress and failure to punish ministers and other public officials who abused Common wealth Heads of Government funds.

The Netherlands reaction which is likely to affect access to service delivery particularly in the Justice, Law and Order Sector comes exactly one month after the UK government withheld over Shs27.3 billion shillings in direct aid to Uganda.

This was owing to government's failure to address "high-level corruption" connected to expenditures on the 2007 Commonwealth summit.
The latest revelation will further affect gov't programs after another group of 11 development partners slashed aid to Uganda by at least 10%, in August this year citing government failure to address high-level corruption.

The donors that jointly finance Uganda’s budget comprise the World Bank, the European Commission and the governments of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.


By Raymond Baguma
THE Government of Belgium has doubled its bilateral aid to Uganda for the next four years, the Belgium ambassador, Jan de Bruyne, has said.

“Belgium has decided to more than double the envelope of its contribution for the period 2009 to 2012,” Bruyne added.

He said a recent meeting of the Belgian-Ugandan Commission presided over by finance minister Dr. Ezra Suruma and Belgian representative Charles Michel, opened a ‘new chapter’ in the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Bruyne was on Friday speaking at a party to mark the Belgium King’s Day at his residence in Kololo. Present were diplomats from other foreign missions, government officials and the Belgian community living in Uganda.

Foreign affairs state minister Isaac Musumba said the Belgium’s aid to Uganda had risen to 64 million euros from the current 24 million euros.

Bruyne said Belgium was the first donor of scholarships to Uganda and the leading importer of Ugandan products.

“We buy much more than a few partner countries of Uganda. Moreover, we buy double what we sell, so the trade balance is substantially in favour of Uganda,” Bruyne said.

He said Uganda had enjoyed consistent economic growth in the last two decades, with a drop in absolute poverty line, improved access to primary education and health care, partly due to the contribution of the donor community.

He asked the Government to involve the private sector in the development of northern Uganda and Karamoja regions, and increase efforts to attract foreign investors to Uganda.

“Private investment requires rule of law, good governance and a genuine willingness to fight corruption. Therefore, I encourage the government to pursue the work they have done so far,” he added.
Bruyne also said a stable Uganda can play a major role in stabilising the Great Lakes region.

Musumba hailed Belgium for the assistance in the fields of education, health and the new initiative to grant more aid to develop the private sector.

“We commend Belgium for the postgraduate scholarships offered to Ugandan students to pursue studies in Belgian and Ugandan universities. This initiative will not only build capacity of the employing institutions, but also promote professionalism and manpower development of this nation,” Musumba said.


The World Bank gave Uganda $100 million credit aid on Monday to support its finance budget in 2010/11. The funds also aimed to enhance its impressive economic performance and poverty reduction programmes.
The money was the eight poverty reduction support credit score “PRSC” and included $40 million provided under a new way to handle challenges posed by global financial crisis.
"Whilst approving the credit score, the executive directors expressed concern more than the slow progress on important governance reforms and growing corruption challenges," the Bank statement mentioned.
Globe Bank's Uganda country manager, Kundhavi Kadiresan, said the fund was less than the Bank's annual spending budget help within the previous years. She said this reflected its fear over corruption and public service improvement.
"The reduction is indicative of the slow progress towards the establishment of a efficiency management system in public service and an improved public procurement law that befits international best practice," she mentioned.
It said Uganda would spend the money on improving equity and upgrading the high quality of critical public services, notably health, education, water, sanitation and transport, according to Reuters.
Poverty levels in Uganda have dropped down from 44 percent in 1997 to 31 % in 2005/06, government statistics show.

The Norwegian government has withdrawn aid totalling USD 4 million to Uganda, accusing Kampala of mishandling the political process, and failing to contain corruption and human rights abuses, the Norwegian ambassador said last Tuesday, quoted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). “Yes, we have cut aid equivalent to USD 4 million. This is about 10 percent of the total aid we give to Uganda. We are dissatisfied about how government is handling the political transition. It’s mishandling the political process, reluctant to open the political space,” ambassador Tore Gjos said.
Norway’s decision to cut aid to the African country came a week after the Ugandan parliament decided to amend the constitution to remove the presidential term limits, legally making it possible for president Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, to stand for the presidential elections next year.
Although government allowed the return to multi-party politics last year, Museveni was insisting on an expensive and widely unpopular referendum on July 28 where the people will vote for the revival of parties which have been under suspension for 19 years.
“The decision to cut aid takes immediate effect and we communicated it to the ministry of finance already. We are concerned about matters of the political transition, the democratisation process, mishandling of the transition to multi-partyism, corruption and human rights. We are concerned about the opening of the political space,” Gjos said.

Launch of the Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance
Uganda moved from the number one position of coffee exporters in 1960s to the 10ths in 2008. During the last 12 months, Uganda has exported only 2.7 million bags compared to 4.2 million bags of coffee exported in 1996/97, a 35 % drop. Uganda could have performed much better. This is the sad story of coffee production in Uganda, but a story that will sooner than later, be a talk of the past not with the launch of the Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance today.
Funded by the European Union, the purpose of the Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance is to provide sustainable marketing services to its member Depot Committees.
This alliance has been pioneered by coffee farmers from the Mubende and Mityana who worked hard through the last five years to establish their own marketing system and improve production, show that the downward trend which the Ugandan Coffee sector experienced during the last 30 years can be reverted.
These farmers now have access directly to exporters in Kampala and are able to supply FAQ [green coffee exportable beans] of the best quality to the international market. Through improvement in yield and quality, value addition, bulk marketing, farmers' net income has, on average, increased by 212%.
Farmers have been able through initial saving to build a revolving fund to run their business, which in turn has attracted financial institutions. Nowadays, 19 depot committees can provide track records to financial institutions and have access to commercial loans.
With additional revenues, farmers are now purchasing inputs directly in Kampala where they are available and prices are lower.
The 15, 0000 members of the Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance are expected to be exemplary to other farmers across the country on how to make a difference in the coffee value chain and their lives.
While delivering his speech at the launch of this alliance, European Union Ambassador to Uganda H.E Vincent De Visscher encouraged the business community, financial sector, traders and exporters, to partner with the Alliance and other Farmers' organisations."They {farmers organisations} are becoming reliable business partners and are contributing efficiently to the cohesion of the value chain and to the profits of other businesses," he said before handing over the Registration Certificate of the Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance Company.
In attendance was Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries minister Hope Mwesigye, Managing Director of the "Uganda Coffee Development Authority" (UCDA) Mr. Henry Ngabirano, Chairman of the "Uganda Coffee Traders Federation" (UCTF ), David Barry and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hanns R. Neumann Michael Neumann

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