Uganda Refugee Summit Raises U.S.$358 Million

The Refugee Solidarity Summit in Kampala has raised $358.2 million in pledges towards support of refugees in Uganda.

 Two South Sudanese teenagers wait in queue to see a doctor at Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp.

Two South Sudanese teenagers wait in queue to see a doctor at Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp.

The money raised in pledges is way below the $2 billion that the government of Uganda had hoped to raise from the summit hosted by President Yoweri Museveni and attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

 The European Union (EU) emerged as the biggest contributor to the summit. On Wednesday the EU pledged €85 million (about $96 million) towards refugees support.

Christos Stylianides, the EU commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Crisis Management said the total contribution from European Union and its member states amounted to €210 million (about $235 million).

“On behalf of the people of Europe, I am pleased to announce that the European Union steps up its support to the refugee response in Uganda with an amount of 85 million euro. With the additional separate announcements from the European member states who are present here today, the overall help from the people of Europe amount to almost 210 million euro”, said Stylianides.

 Other EU member states that individually announced pledges included Germany with $55 million, United Kingdom with $50 million, Sweden with $27 million, Italy with $5 million, Norway with 4 million, Austria $5 million.
 Outside the EU, Japan pledged $10 million, United Arab Emirates $5 million, Canada $11 million, China $500,000, African Union $100,000, Gabon $250,000, Equatorial Guinea $100,000, India $1m, Kenya $200,000, Somalia $100,000 among others. MTN Uganda said it was to provide Shs 1 billion.

President Museveni thanked development partners and states for the contribution saying that showed that world is committed towards ensuring a conflict free region.

Guterres, the UN secretary General who stayed to witness the entire pledging conference also thanked development partners for their support to Uganda. He said this will transform the lives of many refugees and also build them into better people that their country needs.

Uganda hosts 1.2 million refugees mostly from South Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Somalia. There are up to 900, 000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda who have fled conflict between forces loyal to president Salva Kiir and former first vice president Riek Machar.

Uganda has been lauded for its open door policy towards refugees, as it freely welcomes refugees and offers them land in which they cultivate crops and settle.

On average 2,000 refugees enter the country daily straining the available meager financial resources. In some refugee settlements in the country, refugees complain of little food rations, lack of medicine in health facilities, limited education facilities.

*Allafrica/The Observer

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