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EU Delegation Camps in Karamoja on Development

Ambassador Attilio says that Karamoja has unique challenges that the EU together with the local leaders and government seek to find solutions to in order to encourage development in the sub-region.
A section of European Union Ambassadors at Kidepo National Park.

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The European Union - EU delegation in Uganda has started a five-day development mission in Karamoja sub-region, the Mission head Ambassador Attilio Pacifici has revealed. The nine EU ambassadors arrived in the sub-region on Monday evening and addressed journalists at Kidepo National Park where they revealed that their five-day visit was prompted by several problems that continuously deter development in the area and establish how they can be solved.

“We choose places where there are problems. Obviously, there is something here, there is something that is potentially very good but something that is actually not good,” said Ambassador Attilio. This is the third time in three years that the EU ambassadors have visited Karamoja sub-region. The delegation forms part of the key donors in the sub-region, mainly focusing on food insecurity, supporting sustainable livelihood, resilience and education among other things.

Karamoja lies in the North-Eastern part of Uganda and has a population of approximately 1 million people, 2.8 percent of Uganda’s overall population. It is the poorest sub-region with its biggest population, 65.7 percent classified as poor and vulnerable, compared to Kampala’s 1.6 percent. Statistics further indicate that Karamoja’s mean household size is 4.4 percent, the households are polygamous and two in five households are female-headed.

Ambassador Attilio says that Karamoja has unique challenges that the EU together with the local leaders and government seek to find solutions to in order to encourage development in the sub-region. “How can Karamoja develop bearing in mind that there is always need to strike a balance between cultural values and progress. Progress is taking everywhere in the world and this is happening in Karamoja itself but is it happening in the manner that considers the needs of the people?” he asked.

The Ambassador says that their visit will also focus on cattle rustling in the area.

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Rudi Veestraeten, the Ambassador of Belgium said that they want to offer access to diplomacy so that the ordinary people, local organizations and authorities speak to them directly in order to find quick solutions to the problems in the sub-region.

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Massimiliano Mazzanti, the Ambassador of Italy said that they will also focus on Karamoja’s tourism potential and how this can be fully marketed to fetch the economy money.

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Nicole McHugh, the Charge d’Affairs of Ireland also noted that their visit to the sub-region will discuss the issue of trafficking children to Kampala, child and women abuse.

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Karin Boven, the Ambassador of the Netherlands emphasized that their visit is people-centred and that they are to engage the ordinary people and see how to support different development opportunities. The same sentiment was shared by Jules- Armand Aniambossou, the Ambassador of France.

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Maria Hakansson, the Ambassador of Sweden also noted that they are to focus and hold discussions on mining in the sub-region in order to ensure that it only offers development and not be used to abuse child rights and other challenges.

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The EU delegation is scheduled to interface with different leaders later today on environmental protection, wildlife protection and tourism in Karamoja and discuss the perspectives of a marble mine in Loyoro as a concrete example of public-private partnership.     They will also meet Kaabong local authorities and education stakeholders to discuss the impact of school closure and teenage pregnancy.

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