Hon. Sam Kutesa had a meeting with H.E Neven Mimica, European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development at the European Union headquarters in, Brussels, Monday 12 February 2017.
Hon. Sam Kutesa informed the EU Commissioner about the upcoming International Solidarity Conference on Refugees, which Uganda is co-convening with the United Nations Secretary-General in March 2017, and extended an invitation to the Commissioner. The Commissioner confirmed that the European Commission will have high-level representation at the conference.
He informed the commissioner that while Uganda espouses, and continues to implement a progressive and generous refugee policy, the recent spike in numbers from the conflicts in South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo was straining the fragile infrastructure in Uganda’s boarder areas.
Hon Sam Kutesa also expressed Uganda’s appreciation for the European Union’s continued support for the USD130 million Uganda has received from the European Development Fund for the rehabilitation of Northern Uganda, the Minister urged the EU to increase its support towards Uganda’s refugee crisis, and deepen this support to link humanitarian and development assistance in the short and long term.
This, he said, would go a long way in enabling the government to cater for the development of refugee-hosting communities and reduce the risk of hostility towards refugees, arising out of the perception that they are catered for better than the host communities, and hence maintaining the long-term viability of the policy.
Hailing Uganda for its progressive policy, Commissioner Mimica informed the Minister that the EU had commenced its midterm review of all 7 year development projects, and that it was a good time to propose an increase in development assistance from the European Development Fund and EU Trust Fund for Uganda.
He asked Uganda to propose the most concrete development projects that would address the refugee issue, which MFA said would be made available in liaison with the Office of the Prime Minister.
H.E Mimica informed the Minister that the European Union had commenced negotiations for a European Union instrument on Development that will guide all European nations on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. It is hoped to have it signed by the European Parliament, Commission and other stakeholders by June 2017.
The Commissioner also brought to the Minister’s attention, the fact that the EU had launched the European External Investment Plan that incorporates the SDG of integrating aid, trade and private sector participation.
He added that approximately USD 50 billion in Public-Private Partnerships’ Investments could come to Africa through this arrangement, which is much higher than the current levels of Official Development Assistance.
Margaret A. Kafeero