KAMPALA —The European Union will continue to support Uganda’s development agenda as it continues to engage Kampala on a few Human Rights concerns and democracy, the bloc ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Jan Sadek, has said.
Speaking at a function to celebrate Europe Day in Kampala on Tuesday, Mr Sadek said the continuous dialogue with the government over the matter indicates that they have Uganda at heart.
“The EU takes a great interest in Uganda. The EU wants to build a strong partnership with Uganda, on the political side, on cooperation, and on trade and investment, working with all segments of Ugandan society. We have a continuous and broad-based dialogue with the Government, and we share the same views in many areas,” Sadek said.
He added: “But as friends and partners we also speak out when we have different views… There is no secret that we disagree about the new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which contradicts universal values and threatens the safety and dignity of a group of citizens. We believe it is important to be able to have a frank exchange also about such matters.”
The bloc, and its 27 member states is a leading development partner for Uganda, investing millions of Euros into pertinent sectors such as infrastructure, trade, energy, education among others.
“The current cooperation budget for the EU Delegation is 800 MEUR, and taken together, including the efforts of the EU Member States, Team Europe is the leading development partner for Uganda…we are active everywhere, from infrastructure and renewable energy, trade and investment promotion, to education and gender, culture and support for Civil Society,” Mr Sadek said.
He applauded Uganda’s positive role in the region, its progressive refugee policy, and advancement in gender equality, freedom of religion and the fine coexistence between its ethnic groups.
Mr Sadek also hailed Uganda for taking a firm stand in promoting renewable energy and commercial coffee growing.
“We commend Uganda’s …. and its ambitions on renewable energy – where 90 percent of the country’s electricity comes from renewable sources – I think that is worthy of some applause,” he said.
“Coffee is what really links Uganda and the EU! Out of the Ugandan coffee exports, around 60 percent go to Europe, to a value of more than 800 MEUR per year…And we believe there is potential to grow this further,” Mr Sadek said.
Ms Alupo noted the positive collaboration that exists between government and the EU calling it “vibrant and strong. “We appreciate the important contribution and support that the EU has continued to extend in our social economic development and transformation agenda…in areas that are crucial for the development of the country such as infrastructure, energy, agriculture and supporting the Country to address key development challenges” Ms Alupo said.
He further highlighted key areas where more investment will be directed to include the creation of jobs for young people, conservation of the environment and governance and social inclusion.
At the event, Ms Alupo also voiced her concerns over the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine with strong calls to the warring parties to explore the possibilities of peace.
“We call on all the parties to refrain from the escalation of warfare, cease hostilities, de-escalate the conflict by diplomatic means and pursue mechanisms for dialogue and peaceful resolution”.
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