Uganda ramps up anti-poverty fight

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Uganda Map

Uganda has launched an ambitious development model that is targeting 17.5 million people living in poverty in the east African country.

The Parish Development Model (PDM), which was launched by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kibuku, one of the impoverished areas in eastern Uganda, targets to use a bottom-up approach where local people through groups generate their own anti-poverty projects, which are later financed by government.

The PDM is the latest program, after previous poverty eradication schemes, that government is banking on to lift 39 percent of Ugandan households still in subsistence to join the monetized economy.

The model revolves around seven pillars that are eligible for financing, which include agricultural value-chain development, improving infrastructure and economic services, financial inclusion, data gathering, community mobilization and mindset change, governance and administration.

The model will have a revolving fund from which 10-30 village members will borrow at an interest of five percent. According to ministry of finance, a parish development committee will have an oversight role over the revolving fund to ensure the money goes to the target group, it is used for productive investment, and it is paid back.

“Let us all work together to ensure that no Ugandan is left behind in the match towards Middle Income Status and attainment of our National Development Plan goals,” said Ugandan vice president Jessica Alupo days before the Feb. 26 national launch of the development model.

CHINA UNDERSTUDY

The national launch came shortly after President Museveni hailed China for its new development model on the African continent, noting that Uganda is largely interested in poverty eradication and technology transfer.

Museveni was referring to the outcomes of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation meeting held in November last year in Senegal, West Africa. China announced nine programs to strengthen China-Africa Cooperation in different sectors. These include medical and healthcare, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade promotion, investment promotion, and digital innovation. The others are green development, capacity building, cultural and people- to- people exchange, and peace and security.

“The ministry of finance should engage with the Chinese ambassador on where they can come in on the issue of poverty eradication. Because in the past they were supporting mainly infrastructure. You can propose to them where they could help us,” Museveni, who was meeting the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhang Lizhong, said on Feb. 19.

China by the end of 2020, lifted the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents in China out of poverty.

“From the Chinese side, we hope to have a cooperation model focusing on more handy and practical technological projects with remarkable effects on the livelihoods of the people of Uganda,” Zhang said.

China has financed some of Uganda’s key energy and transport infrastructure projects aimed at fast tracking the country’s economic development. China financed the ongoing construction of the 600 megawatt Karuma Hydropower plant, the commissioned 183 megawatt Isimba Hydropower plant, and the ongoing expansion of Entebbe International Airport, the country’s main gateway to the rest of the world. Enditem

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