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
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
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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.