KAMPALA (Reuters) - The United States has offered Uganda $246 million in new aid to help the east African country improve its health and agricultural systems, the U.S. embassy said on Tuesday.
In its current fiscal year Uganda expects to get 33 percent of public expenditure from donors, mainly the European Union, the United States and institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.
The grant was announced by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, in a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni on October 24, according to the U.S. statement.
“The support provided by the U.S. through this agreement will ... improve the health and standard of living of millions of Ugandans. It will advance Uganda’s development goals as enshrined in the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), the Peace Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP) and the National Development Plan (NDP),” the statement said.
Uganda is a major U.S. ally in east Africa. More than 2,500 Ugandan soldiers are in Somalia with the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, which is supported by Washington.
Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper said a large part of the money would be spent on a massive social economic recovery programme in northern Uganda to help the region overcome the devastation wreaked by the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.
More than $170 million will be spent on health and education to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic, fight tuberculosis, eradicate malaria, improve maternal and child health and increase access to family planning and reproductive health services.
Some $35 million will be used to expand and strengthen agriculture, encourage trade and investment, promote private sector competitiveness and environmental conservation. Two million people are expected to be affected by this programme.
Uganda is east Africa’s third largest economy. It has traditionally been reliant on coffee exports and tourism but services and industry have taken off in the last five years as a share of gross domestic product while agriculture has fallen.