Uganda seeks sh30 trillion for refugees
Uganda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) require $8b (about sh30 trillion) to continue to provide services to over 1.2 million refugees and host communities in the next four years. This translates into $2b per year.
Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, said that President Yoweri Museveni and the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, will host a joint summit on refugees between June 22 and 23 in Kampala to drum up financial contributions to Uganda to support refugee operations.
More than half of the 1.2 million refugees in Uganda are South Sudanese. On average, according to UNHCR and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) statistics, 2,000 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda daily in the last six months.
UNHCR and OPM estimates that a further 400,000 refugees will arrive in Uganda before end of the year due to due ‘recurring cycle of instability and insecurity’ mainly in South Sudan – the world’s youngest nation – denied to enjoy the fruits of independence by a brutal conflict fought on tribal lines.
Announcing the summit in the OPM auditorium on Tuesday, Ruganda said the summit is an opportunity for Uganda to reinforce existing partnerships and build ones.
Uganda, according to the minister for disaster preparedness and refugees, Hilary Onek, spent $150m (sh544b) on providing, among others, security, education, health and sanitation facilities to refugees and host communities last year.
In addition, the UN system spent $150m on the same. More money is needed to restore the broken infrastructure and degraded environment due to the refugee influx. At 1.2 million, Uganda is among the top refugee hosting countries in the world.
The UN resident coordinator, Rosa Malango stressed the need to relieve the host communities of the pressure presented by refugees, especially in the West Nile, part of the bigger northern Uganda, with high poverty levels and low Human Development Index. “Uganda should not carry the Africa refugee crisis alone,” Malango said.
Foreign affairs state minister, Henry Okello Oryem said a regional effort under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is being pursued to try to end conflict in South Sudan.
By Pascal Kwesiga