Monday, 26 October 2009

Dear all

Simon Wolley-Operation Black Vote

Theresa may MP

GEO is a small policy Department employing just over 100 staff (excluding our legal advisers based in HM Treasury Solicitor’s Department), led by Harriet Harman QC MP(Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Women and Equality). Harriet Harman is supported by Maria Eagle MP(Minister of State at the GEO and Ministry of Justice) and Michael Foster MP (Parliamentary Secretary for Equality at the GEO). Vera Baird QC MP (Solicitor-General) leads on the Equality Bill. Baroness Royall is the Lead Minister for the Equality Bill in the House of Lords.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Soul II Soul, The Doctor’s Orders & Trippin Records presents
4pm till you stop dancing every SundayLaunch Party Sunday 1st November 2009
The Den & Centro (Formally The End)18 West Central Street London WC1A 1JJ
Free before 8pm, £7 after (£4 members)(First 100 people on each night in November get free membership)
Residents:Jazzie B Spin Doctor Dominic Versell
November guests:Ben Johnson & Jephte Guillaume, Nigel Gore,Quentin Harris, Phil Asher, Marc Mac.Future guests include:Norman Jay, Sarah Love, Mr Thing, Alex Nut, Aitch B, Jazz EQ, Andrew Small, Andy Bird & more tbc.
It’s been 25 years since Soul II Soul’s Africa Centre Sundays redefined club culture for an entire generation. So what better way to mark this quarter century than with Back II Life, another classic Sunday session? As expected, it fuses soul, reggae, hip hop and house, plus a few tunes that defy categorisation, into a dedicated dance groove that you won’t find anywhere else, but this time around Soul II Soul join forces with Doctor’s Orders and Trippin’ Records to create the ultimate Old Skool Nu Skool dance extravaganza.
“Back II Life’s brings together different deejays and promoters, to unite London’s disparate tribes under one banner – dance. Like the Africa Centre it’s a scene for like-minded people who have a love of good music, and don’t get hung up on what genre that happens to be.”Jazzie B
This funky updating of Soul II Soul’s philosophy of a happy face, a thumping bass for a loving race, brings together London’s strongest party providers to produce way more than just another regular club night. Back II Life will give you everything you’d want from a club – the best music, good food, visual arts, live performance, the funkiest people – but with the capital’s most experienced groove perpetrators behind the decks Back II Life is always going to be greater than the sum of its parts. With free membership for everybody at any of the first month’s events, this is the only place to be on a Sunday afternoon, evening or night … or even on a Monday morning.
Never has a funk exclusive been more inclusive.
Jazzie B: the original Funki DredPlaying records and making records since 1977, Jazzie is one of the few true international legends of modern soul music. With Soul II Soul he’s scored Number One hits all over the world; has won two Grammies and an Ivor Novello award; and received an OBE and the keys to no less than seven American cities – some states even celebrate a Soul II Soul Day. As busy now as he’s ever been, deejaying all over the world, and with a BBC London 94.9 radio show, the Back II Life event is the project closest to his heart: “I want to create a spiritually enhancing event for everybody who comes through the door, so in turn they will create a scene that develops into a community rather than just a crowd.” Which was exactly the same maxim as the Africa Centre, meaning Back II Life is already destined for greatness.
Spin Doctor: the driving force behind Doctor’s OrdersDoctor’s Orders sole resident, hip hop deejay Spin has been responsible for the creation of and soundtrack to many of London’s incredible events during the last few years – UK B-Boy Championships; Urban Games B-Boy Arena; Places & Spaces; The Southport Weekender – and he found the chance to work in collaboration with his good friend Jazzie B too much to resist. As his regular fundraising J-Dilla tribute nights will attest, Spin has a strong sense of community, and sees Back II Life as the chance to express that while creating something new and fresh for London.
Dominic Versell: Trippin’ Records label bossCommunity is important to Dominic too, as for years he has been steeped in the international house music community, both as a label boss and as a deejay. His sense of what a good club should be is just as keen, as it’s based on New York’s legendary Shelter parties, that evolved out of the incredible scene that was Paradise Garage. With this as his starting point he will be bringing an third skill set to Back II Life, offering grooves that will further enhance the night’s total clubbing experience.
Solar Radio: your classic & 21st Century soul stationAs one of London’s original FM pirate stations of the early -1980s, Solar became the most popular soul, funk and jazz station of the time, and they have, over the last 20 years, been and archive/library of club music. Now, as a satellite station, broadcasting on Sky Digital and via Internet streaming, Solar will allow like-minded clubbers from all corners of the earth to participate in Sundays at Back II Life with live broadcasts and uplink. Also, as they have done when broadcasting live from events and venues such as London’s Jazz Café or the Southport Weekender, as well as the music Solar will also present snapshots of deejay interviews and pre-recorded sessions.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

2009Operation Black Vote (OBV) the country’s leading non-partisan campaign group for greater political participation of Black and Ethnic Minorities is holding a Black History Month Celebration on the 29th October 2009. ‘Celebrating Black History Month 2009’ is to be held at ‘The Friends House’ 173 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ. There will be speeches from Rt. Hon David Lammy MP, Sadiq Khan MP, Dawn Butler MP, Liberal Democrat Meral Ece, OBV’s Simon Woolley and many more. This will be followed by performances and a networking reception with stalls from various campaign organizations and BME groups.
OBV wants to celebrate Black History Month by commemorating and celebrating work the achievements of all our historical and civil rights icons from Angela Davis and Mahatma Gandhi to Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Bernie Grant and the election President Obama. The event is sure to capture the attention of Londoners of all ages and will be the London’s biggest Black History Month celebration. For further information, or queries please contact Jyoti Bhojani, Tel: 020 8983 5460 or E: or visit

Friday, 23 October 2009

Thursday, 22 October 2009

TAREHE 25/10/09 – TIME: 2.30PM



“Kwa sababu ndivyo tulivyoamriwa na Bwana, …… Neno la Bwana likaenea katika nchi ile yote” Matendo:13:47 - 49
Ukishuka stesheni chukua basi nos: 16 or 15 kisha ushuke Waylene bus stop Oxford Road
For information:
Mchungaji: Tel.07983087998/Aljanes Luiza(Baba Ian)- 07900008211

A terrible accident at oxford circus in London
Photo: Ayoub mzee
The politics of hope, not hate.

Next Thursday culminates in the battle of the politics of hope versus the politics of hate.

As the BNP look set to make a controversial appearance on the BBC’s Question Time programme, Operation Black Vote will counter their politics of hate by unveiling a new generation of political activists.

In partnership with the Government Equalities Office, Operation Black Vote will launch the country’s first national BME Women Councillor Shadowing Scheme. Unified in their desire to bring positive change, sixty women from BME communities across the country have been selected to take part in this ground-breaking leadership programme.

The cross-party initiative is designed to demystify the role of councillors and open up the functions of local government to allow greater diversity and help tackle the under-representation of BME women within the UK’s elected Council Chambers. Out of 20,000 Councillors around 149 are BME women, representing less than 1% of Councillors nationally[1]. Figures published by the LGA show that local councils are dominated by councillors who are white males above the age of fifty, meaning that many of the communities they serve are under-represented in the democratic process.

The sixty participants will shadow mentor councillors for 4-6 days over a six-month period and learn about the roles and responsibilities of a councillor. The experience will equip and motivate them to become actively involved in local politics and gain the confidence to stand as candidates to represent all communities as councillors in the decision making process. In addition, the scheme will also give serving councillors the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the diverse communities they seek to serve.

OBV view this process of wider political engagement as essential to a vibrant democracy, the benefits of which will be experienced by all communities.

Francine Fernandes, Head of Shadowing Schemes said, “Wasting so much talent for Operation Black Vote is not an option. Our communities, our institutions and wider society greatly benefit from utilising the deluge of BME talent within the political arena. The outcome of these women taking their place in local governance will without doubt, transform their locality and greatly enhance our democracy. “

The launch will take place from 4.00pm - 6.00pm on Thursday 22nd October 2009 in the Members Dining Room, Houses of Parliament, London. Key note speakers include: Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman QC MP, Rt. Hon. Ed Balls MP, Rt. Hon. David Lammy MP and Shahid Malik MP.



1. Operation Black Vote is a non-party political campaign. The term “Black” is a political term. It refers to African, Asian, Caribbean and other ethnic minorities. For more information about OBV visit

2. The Operation Black Vote Shadowing Scheme is the first to specifically target ethnic minorities. The Shadows commit at least six working days to the project over the next six months. This is a voluntary programme and participants do not receive any remuneration, bar basic expenses.

3. Over 30 local authorities will participate in the initiative.

4. The Councillor Shadowing Scheme was first implemented in 2005/6 in Bristol and was awarded the Local Government Chronicle Award in 2006 for ‘Supporting Local Democracy’ and was highly commended for the ‘Community Involvement’ category. The LGC Awards are a national award which recognizes and rewards initiatives of excellence ( The Councillor Shadowing Scheme has been cited as a leading model to be used by both the Councillors Commission and the Audit Commission.

5. This year only around 149 out of 19,617 councillors across England are minority ethnic women, compared with 164 in 2006. This represents less than one per cent of all councillors, when minority ethnic women make up more than five per cent of the population. To fully reflect society the number of female minority ethnic councillors would have to rise nearer to 1000.

6. The number of white women councillors across England however has increased by around 283 since 2006 to 5,606 – making up nearly a third of all councillors. While progress has been made, white women are still under-represented as they make up about 45 per cent of England’s population.

7. Wales and Scotland[2] have no female black or Asian councillors at all, despite having a BAME women population of 30,510 and 49,769 respectively[2]. This compares with white women making up 25 per cent of councillors in Wales and 23 per cent in Scotland.

8. An additional 50 women who are not selected for the programme will be offered a place on the Solace First Certificate in Community Leadership

[1] Please note caution should be applied when using these figures which should be treated as estimates only. (Government Equalities Office)

Monday, 19 October 2009


Mo Ibrahim Foundation announces decision not to award Ibrahim Prize this year
Foundation to hold governance forum in Dar Es Salaam where African stakeholders will gather to discuss
key issues and opportunities for progress
In announcing the decision of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership Prize Committee,
the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation released the following statement from the Prize Committee:

“The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is committed to supporting great African leadership that will improve the
economic and social prospects of the people of Africa. The Foundation’s focus is the promotion of good
governance in Africa and the recognition of excellence in African leadership.
The Prize Committee welcomed the progress made on governance in some African countries while noting
with concern recent setbacks in other countries.

This year the Prize Committee has considered some credible candidates. However, after in-depth review,
the Prize Committee could not select a winner.”
Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said:
“The Prize Committee is independent of the Board. It is the Prize Committee’s decision not to award a
Prize this year and we entirely respect it. We made clear at the launch of the Foundation that there may
be years when there is no winner.

This Foundation was established to stimulate debate around, and improve the quality of, African
governance. Although there is much focus on the prize, the Foundation is engaged in many other
activities to help improve governance. Central to these is the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which
the Foundation published earlier this month, which gives powerful information to all citizens about the
performance of their countries.”

The Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation also confirmed that despite the fact that there is no laureate this
year, the planned events in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 14 and 15 November 2009 will go ahead.
These events will include a discussion forum that will bring together stakeholders to discuss issues that
are key to Africa’s future progress including climate justice, agriculture and food security and regional
economic integration. The aim of the forum is to articulate shared aspirations and a common vision for the
future around these issues.

The BBC had this to say about the award:
"Mr Ibrahim argues that the prize is needed because many African leaders come from poor backgrounds and are tempted to hang on to power for fear that poverty is what awaits them when they give up the levers of power.
But our analyst says recent evidence of the prize's effectiveness across Africa is not encouraging.
Uganda, Chad and Cameroon have all changed their constitutions so their leaders can retain their positions.
There have been coups in Guinea, Mauritania and Madagascar, as well as several elections that fell well short of international standards.
And the countries that have received most praise from Mo Ibrahim's foundation this year - Mauritius, Cape Verde and Seychelles - are far from the continent's centres of power.
Botswana's former President Festus Mogae won the prize last year, after two terms at the helm of one of Africa's least corrupt and most prosperous nations.
The inaugural prize was given to Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique's former president, who has since acted as a mediator in several African disputes".

Find out about events for Black History month across the UK by logging on to:

NEW REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONSThe No Border Scotland Network has published its first newsletter.Download the newsletter at: (pdf file 412kb)The Department for Children, Schools and Families has published statistics on: 'Permanent and fixed period exclusions from schools and exclusion appeals in England, 2007/08'.Download the statistics at: (pdf file 96kb)The Communities and Local Government Department has published: '2009 Addendum to the Race Equality Scheme 2005-2008'.Download the addendum at: (pdf file 476kb)FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 DISCLOSURESUnder the Freedom of Information Act the Metropolitan Police has released information on: 'Borough breakdown of stops and searches - August 2009'.View and download the information at: the Freedom of Information Act the Home Office has released information on the: 'Policing of G20 protests'.View and download the information at:
Liverpool rises but Manchester falls in European league The Liverpool City Region, comprising of Liverpool, Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral, is one of the most exciting and thriving economic regions in the UK
It has the fastest growing economy in the country and is home to blue chip companies such as Jaguar, Littlewoods, Grosvenor and Peel

The Mersey Partnership plays a pivotal role in shaping the future economic vision, attracting new investment and developing tourism for the City Region and with its members and partners is committed to the creation of a dynamic regional economy.

Dear Sir/Madam,
My name is Chanelle Myrie, and I am currently studying for a doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. For my final year thesis project, I will be researching Black men’s conceptions of mental health and well-being, and how they think about looking after themselves. I am particularly looking for men aged 18-30 who identify as coming from an Afro-Caribbean background.I am currently looking for participants to take part in my research, and meet me for an hour long interview. I have been advertising for my study in community centres within the East London area. I am writing to your service to find out whether it would be possible for me to display an A4 poster advertising my study in your community centre. I have a contact email address on the bottom of the poster for interested people to contact me on. Participants would receive a £5 voucher from Amazon or HMV for their time.If you would be able to display a poster, please email me on blackmenresearch@ and I will arrange a time for me to come and drop the poster off. There is also the possibility (if you have rooms available for hire), that if people at your centre would prefer to do the interviews at your centre rather than at the University of East London, I would also pay to rent a room for an hour.
Kindest regards, Chanelle Myrie
Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Timbuktu in the West African nation of Mali is at the intersection of an east-west and a north-south Trans Saharan trade route across the Sahara. The city-state was an intellectual and spiritual capital in the 15th and 16th centuries. After long years of decline, Timbuktu is still a tourist destination and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This image was captured by the ASTER image aboard the Terra spacecraft. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products. The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Ndugu zanguOn the suibject line and at the bottom, kuna swali... Kwa kujibu, nadhani kipo cha kuongeza. Jibu nadhani ni kuwa tupige mzigo tupunguze malalamiko na tuwe wakujituma, wabunifu, na wepesi wa kushiriki kwenye CIVIC Duties including upigaji kura. I mean we all should push, participate and have a grand voter turn out and civic participation of say 98% of eligible voters having to turn out as an example! What do you think will happen? Let people not keep "complaining" unconstructively on one side while equally destructively keep ourselves busy listing supposedly good excuses justifying reasons for not doing something or anything constructively to help effect the desired change, at least in the thinking process. Do your part, and do it so well that you are confident and happy you are indeed doing your part so well and so confidently. That is where all the secrets lies. Nothing more, nothing else. Collectively, the desired change will eventually be achieved.Yakibaki yale yale then we know who to blame. Its You and Only You and Nobody else. It is me and only me and nobody else. It is us! Period.I think it is time to shift gears from complaining to taking action and consciously and deliberately be part of the whole process.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Dr Salim Ahmed Salim ,The prime minister Hon Mizengo Pinda and former Prime minister Edward Lowassa at the Nyerere day event

Friday, 16 October 2009

Is it time for our ambassadors and High commissioners to blog and Twitter?

Ayoub mzee with the tanzania President H.E JAKAYA KIKWETE
Do you agree with the argument that George Soro's open Society Institute has in many views been as important as the African Union or european union in fostering civil society and building the foundations of democracy?
Ayoub mzee with the Uganda president H.E YOWERI MUSEVENI
The private sector's foreign investment and speculative flows outweigh both official and Philanthropic funds in determining the economic fate of countries.In global
politics , non governments movements with influencial godfathers like Bono are proving almost as imortant as govenments, and according to survey s , are already more trusted?
Ayoub mzee with the Zanzabar President H.E ABEID KARUME
Is it true that even global campaigning organisations like LIVE 8,green peace , still see our governments as the objects of their activism."End Debt" text massages campaigns have told G8 leaders , but in truth the means to affect the world's affairs are slipping from our goverments and ambassadors hands?
Ayoub mzee with the Rwanda President H.E PAUL KAGAME
Does this mean that the our ambassadors are going to work even harder to be relevant and respected in this new world and generational changes?.Should they start blogging, open face book accounts and twitter?

Ayoub mzee with the Burundi vice President
More and more people are migrating from their countries looking for green pastures and more still assume multi cultural identities, do you now find it less and less convincing that your ambassador represents you?

Ouf of respect for the annivassary to mark Nyerere's death these ladies doned these Khangsa to grace the occassion

The Tanzania president with Mma Maria Nyerere at the occassion

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Uganda president invites Sudan's Al bashir to AU Summit

Museveni addressing the press conference at State House Entebbe yesterday
By Cyprian Musoke[newvision]
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has invited his Sudanese counterpart Omar el-Bashir to the AU summit on refugees due next week. Answering questions from journalists at a press conference at State House Entebbe yesterday, Museveni said Bashir had been invited in his capacity as a sitting African president. Bashir is wanted at The Hague-based International Criminal Court over war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Member states are expected to arrest Bashir. African members, including Uganda, have refused to cooperate with the court, saying Bashir’s arrest would compromise peace efforts in Darfur. Museveni said: “Our position in the African security committee was that let us not condemn or condone Bashir.” “We said let us do our own investigations. That’s how former South African President Thabo Mbeki was invited to do further research to enable us take our own position,” he said. Museveni said Bashir was free to talk peace with the rebels in his country, at Munyonyo Resort Hotel, where presidents recently launched a symbolic peace hub during the Smart Partnership meeting. Museveni said the hub means that Uganda can give protection to belligerents to meet and talk. “The hub means a neutral zone in which we give safe conduit to the belligerents to meet and talk. We cannot turn around and say “you are wanted by the ICC” and we grab you,” he said. In July, the Government had advised Bashir not to attend the Smart Partnership meeting to which he had been invited over his safety. Museveni at the time explained that the Government had not “locked out” Bahsir, but there were some issues. “Some people had said in the papers that we invited Gen. Bashir so that he comes and we arrest him. That’s not according the culture of the Great Lakes region in Africa here.” “When I want to fight you, I insult you, I don’t invite you. I tell you beforehand. We don’t believe in surprise attacks,” he said. The court’s prosecutor, Moreno Ocampo, was visiting Uganda at about the same time.
At yesterday’s press conference, Museveni said he was yet to crosscheck on whether Libyan leader and the chairman of the AU, Muammar Gadaffi, who is expected to open the talks, had confirmed attendance. The President called the press to explain the the economy. He said the economy was growing at 7% per annum, despite the global recession. This, he added, is in spite of the doubling of the population in the last 20 years, from 14.3 million in 1986 to about 31 million. Exports, including remittances from Ugandans abroad, grew to $4.5b last year, he said. His priority now, he added, was to “awaken” Ugandan scientists to step up processing as a means to stop Africa from exporting raw materials.
He said Makerere University’s faculty of food science was doing this. The exports can increase 10-fold, he added, if all the products are exported in processed form, which would in turn reduce dependence on donor money. “A new dawn has come for Ugandans in value addition because we have been begging all over the world. But now, our children who have become scientists can do it (processing).” He said this was the reason the Government sponsors 75% of government students at Makerere to study sciences.
The President also talked about terrorism, which he said had been defeated. He noted that nobody would again destabilise Uganda, and called upon everybody to engage in production. Commenting on the LRA war, the President said if the rebels fled to Chad, Uganda would work out an arrangement with the Chadian government to pursue them. He said he was not bothered whether Sudan still supports the group, saying in 1986, Khartoum gave the LRA 11,000 rifles but they were still defeated. “The safety of Kony is not in fighting but hiding. Whoever gives them guns wants them killed or to use them to kill civilians,” he said. Turning to corruption, Museveni said young people who have finished their masters degrees would sort out the vice. On Buganda matters, Museveni said he and the Kabaka would soon announce resolutions on the contentious issues. On the closed radio stations, he said he had given the Kabaka recordings of programmes in which presenters incited masses and promoted sectarianism and genocide. “You have a duty to enjoy your rights as journalists but also protect the rights of others. Because of our lax way of working, they thought Uganda was a hole of anarchy,” he said. Journalists had expressed concern about the way in which Radio One journalist Kalundi Sserumaga was arrested. The President said if he was thrown into a car boot, the culprits would be brought to book. About the stalemate facing the election of a Kyabazinga for Busoga, the President denied supporting any of the factions, saying there were still unresolved issues. “If we were supporting any, I would have attended the coronation if government is satisfied that one of them has been agreed on. “We are still studying the situation there because their process needs to be clarified,” he said. On oil, he said it would not be misused to buy champagne and shampoo, but spent on energy, transport infrastructure, education and research to sustain future generations. On refugees, Museveni said in the Great Lakes region, everybody is a neighbour and should keep one another in times of problems. “These are our brothers, don’t think they are from Spain or France. We just need to regulate their access to resources. They should not start fighting with the indigenous people over land.” The idea of a United States of Africa, he added, was not yet realistic given major differences between Africans, although political federation at regional level was possible. However, he added, economic integration was desirable.
The Uganda High commissioner in UK and Ireland H.E JOAN RWABYOMERE [below]:

Photo:Ayoub mzee

The former Uganda Dictator Addi Amin Dada with the then Tanzania president Mwalimu Nyerere

Friday, October 16th, 6:30pm
Congo in Harlem ****Special Event***Ndunga ProcessionThe tradition of African masquerade is used for many purposes, one of which is healing. The Ndunga Project is based on "Ndunga" the Congolese masquerade that appears in ceremonies to warn the villagers of injustices against themselves or towards others. The word "Ndunga" loosely translates to "Justifier" in English, pronounced N-dunga.Gathering and procession from the Ndunga Public Art Project will begin at 6:30pm with designer Sandra Am Bell at the Harlem State Office Building located at 163 W. 125th Street at the corner of Adam Clayton Boulevard. Procession will end at the Maysles Cinema before showtime.7:30pmThe Greatest Silence: Rape in Congo Dir. Lisa F. Jackson, 2007, 76min.Violence against women in conflict has been called one of history's greatest silences. This documentary, filmed in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo over several months in 2006 and 2007, breaks the silence that has surrounded the tens of thousands of women and girls who have been kidnapped, raped, sexually enslaved and tortured in that country's intractable civil war.Following the screening, a discussion with attorney/activist Joseph Mbangu, Aningina Tshefu Bibiane (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), Sandra AM Bell (designer, Ndunga Public Art Project) and others TBD.Co-presented by the Friends of the Congo

At the 47th Independence Anniversary of Uganda Unity: A key factor in protecting Uganda’s Destiny and Independence Kampala 9th October 2009

H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda Uganda today celebrates 47 years of Independence from colonial rule. I congratulate all Ugandans upon this occasion. Fellow Ugandans, our nation remains strong, peace and stability are assured, and our economy continues to register high economic growth. While celebrations have the potential to become routine, it is imperative that we continually define and determine the meaning of true independence. These important milestones which have been established since the NRM came to power in 1986 have been largely due to the peace and political stability as well as the prudent macroeconomic management. It is the duty of all Ugandans to ensure that these important achievements, the key tenets of our continued progress and existence, are maintained. Ugandans must remember what has transpired over the last five decades and be prepared to ensure that they build on the foundation that the NRM Government has set following many years of civil strife and mis-direction.
Economic GrowthThe NRM Government has registered impressive economic performance over the past two decades, with GDP growth averaging 8.3% per year over the last five years. The economy registered a robust growth rate of 7% per annum last financial year despite the global financial crisis and recession which have adversely affected the global economy. This growth was largely driven by strong performances in transport, communications, financial services, health services, and manufacturing. In addition, there were improvements in agricultural production as compared to the previous year. Growth would have been even much faster, at least 8% per annum, if the World economy had not been faced with the global recession which was triggered by the financial crisis in United States and Europe. Nonetheless, because of our deliberate effort to diversify the economy, coupled with prudent macroeconomic management, our growth at 7% per annum in 2008/09 was enviable compared to many others which were devastated by the chaos in the global economy. Our economic growth momentum can be compared with the economies of China and India, although these are much larger, more sophisticated economies.
No one, in Uganda or internationally, can now doubt the country’s steady and deliberate path to a middle-income country status in the near future. This is more so with the reasonable discoveries of oil which, without any doubt, will accelerate our progression to a middle-income country status. When we assumed leadership of this country in 1986, the economy was in ruins, poverty was extremely high, many private businesses had closed and some business people left the country, and unemployment including underemployment was high. Prior to 1986, the economy had contracted as compared to the time of our independence in 1962. Infrastructure was completely destroyed. Those of you who are old enough will recall the sorry state of our hotels prior to 1986, with run-down nonfunctional facilities. There were virtually no tourists or visitors. Production had almost completely collapsed and there were limited supplies both domestically produced and imported from abroad. By 1986, per capita income had dropped by 40 percent of its level in 1970. Since 1986 to date, per capita income has almost doubled from US$ 264 in 1986 to US$504 by June 2009. Also, there are no shortages of both consumer goods and production inputs, in a fully liberalized environment. Despite some income inequality in some parts of the country especially the North as a result of the long insurgency by the LRA, poverty has declined significantly on the whole.
By 2006, for instance, poverty among Ugandans had dropped to 31 percent from 56% in 1992. The on-going household survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics will soon give us the current poverty status. The economy has been transformed from one which was predominantly agricultural to a modern economy driven by services and industry, including agro-based industrial processing. The services sector now accounts for more than 51% of GDP and industry 24%, while the contribution of agriculture to GDP is now 15%. Although the services and industry sectors have increased much faster than agriculture, the agricultural sector remains the primary sector that still employs the majority of our people, given that about 70% of Ugandans live in rural areas. During this financial year 2009/10, real GDP is projected to grow by at least 6%, reflecting the likely impact of the global recession on the economy, but this is much higher than the projected growth in many other economies in the region.
Based on the economic data for the last three months, the Ugandan economy should quickly recover from the effects of the global economic recession and the negative impact be relatively small and temporary. Therefore, growth is expected to recover in the coming financial year 2010/11 to about 6.5% - 7% per annum. ExportsThe NRM Government has been promoting exports as a means to creating wealth for Ugandans and to reduce our dependency on external donor aid. This has included opening up export opportunities in the region, in addition to ensuring export diversification. We have promoted we have promoted non traditional exports to markets both regionally and internationally. We are building infrastructure to increase intra-regional trade so as to benefit from a bigger market as one of the advantages of regional integration. Because of these diverse strategies, our exports have increased substantially from US$ 505 million in 1986 to US$ 4.53 billion (cross- border trade US$ 1.388 billion; tangible goods US$ 1.7 billion; services e.g. tourism, construction, US$ 0.722 billion; remittances US$ 0.723 billion) in financial 2008/09, of which about half (US$ 1.6 billion) was what is referred to as Informal Cross-Border Trade -- trade with our immediate neighbours such as Southern Sudan, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. Informal cross border export receipts were only US$ 133 million equivalent five years ago in financial year 2004/05.
Uganda’s exports grew by 19% percent annually during financial year 2008/09, despite the global recession that has reduced the demand for exports in Europe and America. While formal exports mainly to the rich Western countries excluding coffee increased by only US$20 million in financial year 2008/09 compared to the previous year, there was an increase of US$481 million in export receipts to the immediate regional markets. Informal cross border exports, comprising mainly manufactured goods (84%) and food (16%) to Southern Sudan, grew strongly in the second half of the fiscal year. Quarterly export data shows that informal cross border export receipts increased by 73% in the 3rd Quarter of the financial year 2008/09 and 102% in the 4th Quarter. For the year as a whole, informal exports grew by 45 percent during financial year 2008/09. As a result of the above movements, trade balance also improved significantly to an average trade surplus of US$ 13 million per month for the period April to July 2009. This exceptional performance of the export sector and the balance of payments generally, at the time when other economies were contracting because of the global recession, signifies an untapped potential in the region that we need to harness in the context of regional integration. As our experience with the global economic recession has shown, deliberate and sustained efforts towards improving the welfare of our people by ensuring trade openness has paid dividends and will continue to do so. Despite the challenges of accessing markets especially in Europe, our deliberate policy of diversification has also paid off. Our economy is now more able to withstand external shocks and therefore able to preserve the wealth that we are creating.
Those of you who have been following what has happened in the US and European economies, realise that lack of adequate safeguards in their economies has led to significant reduction in the wealth of the people of those countries. In Uganda, we are now able to foresee the dangers to our people and economy instead of sitting back and waiting for other people to come and tell us what to do. To be independent means taking charge of your own destiny and we are now on the right track to gaining total independence after going through many episodes that undermined achievement of this noble objective. We have decided to take charge, and we will stay on course irrespective of external influences which have in the past interfered with our country’s prosperity. InflationOne of the key achievements of the NRM Government has been the restoration of macroeconomic stability which has increased investor confidence in the economy. Low inflation is good for investment planning and for maintaining economic welfare of individuals. Low inflation also helps to maintain the monetary value of our wealth. That is why one of the key priorities of the Government in the early 1990s was to control inflation, which was running in three digits. We have largely, and for a long time, achieved success.
The success in ensuring a stable macroeconomic and business friendly environment has been partly responsible for sustaining high economic growth. The other important factor has been ensuring peace and security of persons and property. Over the last one and half years) however, Ugandans have experienced increased prices of food. While the high inflation the country experienced in the 1980s and early 1990s was because of fiscal indiscipline, the recent increase in prices is mainly due to the regional demand for food, which is far greater than supply. In view of this, the Government response is to trigger increased food production for both domestic consumption and for regional export to meet the high demand. One of the biggest constraints in achieving this objective is over reliance on rain water for agriculture for which we have no control. For example, while overall inflation had dropped to 11.6% in July 2009, prolonged drought, and the irregular and unpredictable rains which have caused a delay in food production led to increased prices averaging 14.5% per annum last month. Whereas inflation excluding food crops has continued to decline from 10.4% per annum in July 2009 to 9.7% per annum in September 2009, average food prices have increased, on an annual basis, from 22.8% to 49.5% respectively, in the same period. This shows that the current increase in inflation is driven solely by food shortages in some parts of the country due to the drought. So the long term solution to minimizing the impact of natural calamities on our livelihood is to be better organized and to harness the natural resources that we have.
In this regard, directives have been given to the Ministers of Finance and of Agriculture, to prioritize the development of irrigation schemes across the country to optimize the use of water for production. In the case of livestock, the Government has procured equipment for private farmers to hire at subsidized rates to construct optimal valley dams. Once this programmme is fully implemented, the country will be able to minimize the impact of weather changes on food production, and therefore improve our food security. Despite the increase in recent months, overall inflation is projected to decline to single digit this financial year. Exchange RateAlthough the panic that was caused by the global financial crisis in the second half of 2008 forced short term investors to sell off their equity and dispose off Government securities to raise funds to rescue their mother companies abroad (which subsequently caused sharp volatility of the exchange rate), stability has now been restored in the foreign exchange market. I am reliably informed that the foreign investors who had fled in panic have started coming back; partly because they have realized that their investments would be guaranteed here.
The other important reason is that the return on their investments is much higher in Uganda and Africa in general, than in Europe, Japan and United States. The return of these investors is a very strong indicator of the soundness of our economy and, therefore, the increased confidence in the future of our country. We should be proud of these important milestones as we celebrate our independence, as important elements in our quest for total liberation from dependency on others. When the shilling weakened in the first half of this calendar year, there were calls from various groups, including some Members of Parliament, for Government to reverse the exchange rate policy of liberalization and market determined, in order to reduce the cost of imports. They argued that the weakening of the shilling made imports more expensive and caused inflation. I was not convinced with their reasoning because I knew the advantages of a flexible exchange rate that is determined by the market. I argued that, first a depreciated shilling was good to the exporters. Second, because a weak shilling makes imports more expensive, it helps our balance of payments by discouraging importation of especially non-essential items and therefore preserving our foreign reserves when there is a decline in foreign inflows. But most importantly, a flexible exchange rate helps the economy to adjust quickly to external shocks and therefore enables the economy to achieve internal and external balance without causing more painful distortions which would even be more costly in the longer term. For these reasons, we decided on the policy of no change. I have now been proved right. Our economic fundamentals remain strong, short-term foreign investors have returned, regional exports are doing well and as a result the shilling is appreciating again (from UShs 2,286 per US$1 in mid May 2009 to now UShs 1,900 per US$1).
As a result of the global financial crisis and the subsequent global economic recession, many countries lost their foreign reserves to very low levels, as measured in months of imports of goods and services. Those economies were therefore more vulnerable if the crisis was to continue. In Uganda, our foreign reserves remained broadly intact except for the small losses due to the Government intervention to stabilize the exchange rate and also because of the exchange rate re-alignment across major international currencies. By June 2009, our international reserves were US$ 2,442 billion, equivalent to 5 months of future imports of goods and services. Also, the temporary turbulence in the foreign exchange market in the financial year 2008/09 was quickly dealt with because the country had adequate foreign reserves which were used, as I have said, to stabilize the market. The limited impact of the global financial crisis and recession on our economy has not been by accident. It is a consequence of being well organized and deliberate in our actions as NRM Government.
Our economic policies are clear, sound, and aimed at the strategic vision of promoting trade and global competitiveness with regional integration as the launch pad. There is no doubt that Ugandans and foreign investors will continue to reap the benefits of these sound economic management policies and strategies. Remittances Inflows in form of remittances of Ugandans working abroad increased by 36.5% from US$ 546.4 million in financial year 2007/08 to US$ 745.8 million last financial year amid fears in some quarters that these inflows were going to dry up because of the financial crisis. Although remittances dropped in the last quarter of financial year 2008/09 by 11% following an increase in the first three quarters of the financial year 2008/09 by 72%, 38% and 40%, respectively, there has been a strong rebound in the months of July and August 2009. This dispels another myth that remittances, as a source of development finance for Uganda, would decline in the face of the global financial crisis. Therefore, although some of the effects of the global recession will come with a lag, it is unlikely that our economy will be badly affected in a significant way.
Foreign Direct InvestmentForeign direct investment (FDI) remains strong, reflecting continued sound economic fundamentals and therefore investor confidence in the economy. This is also reflected in the improved sovereign rating of Uganda from B to B+ by Standard and Poor’s, and from “B stable” to “B Positive” by Fitch in their latest rating in August 2009. Foreign Direct Investment was US$ 736 million during fiscal year 2008/09, though slightly down by US$ 42 million when compared with the level recorded in fiscal year 2007/08. This small decline during financial year 2008/09 was associated with uncertainty in the global economic situation at the time. More recently, we have observed increased FDI demand in the country, which is another measure of the competitiveness of our economy. Another indicator of competitiveness is the level of firm profits reinvested in the country. Reinvested capital from company profits increased by 6.4% to about US$ 188 million in the financial year 2008/09 compared to the previous year, when many companies around the world were struggling to remain in business and many actually collapsed. This indicates, on average, continued profitability of private companies operating in Uganda, in contrast to what is currently happening in many other countries around the world. This performance, however, is not good enough. Investors still face bureaucratic hurdles to start their businesses; and some of these hurdles are created by corrupt public officials who are undermining the delivery of public goods and services such as roads, affordable electricity, health, skills development, and so on.
As I stated a few days ago at the retreat of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, the time for dancing around with corruption is over and anyone denying Ugandans services in the form of corruption will be dealt with in a manner that does not give them another chance. The Head of Public Service should ensure that Accountants and Procurement staff in the public sector are transferred more regularly as a principle of good corporate governance. In any case, no Government Procurement staff and Accountants, including Internal Auditors, in the public sector should stay in the same office for more than three years. These people stay in one place for a long time and in the process facilitate entrenchment of corruption through well-coordinated networks. This must stop. The financial SectorAlthough the contagion from the financial crisis spread to the financial systems in many countries of the world, the Ugandan financial system was largely unaffected. Uganda’s financial sector is sound and adequately capitalized. There are three main reasons for this.
First, our financial system is dominated by commercial banks and these banks had very little exposure to either the type of toxic assets which caused havoc in the advanced economies (most notably mortgage backed securities) or to any of the failed financial institutions in the advanced economies.
Second, banks in Uganda do not rely on short-term foreign borrowing to mobilise funds, unlike for example banks in the transition economies of Eastern Europe; and as a consequence they have not suffered a liquidity crunch from the drying up of access to foreign loans.
Third, the Bank of Uganda monitors the financial condition of commercial banks closely. The Ugandan banking system did not suffer any outflow of funds as a result of the global financial crisis; in fact, the total liabilities in the form of shilling deposits and foreign exchange accounts of the banking system increased in every quarter of the 2008/09 fiscal year. Consequently, there has been no threat to banking system liquidity from the global financial crisis.
In addition, there was virtually no impairment to the asset quality of the banks in the last fiscal year, while the key measure of capital adequacy – core capital to risk weighted assets – remained at a very healthy 19 percent during the fiscal year. A manifestation of this healthy financial sector environment is the strong growth in private sector credit, which averaged over 43% per year in the last two years. Domestic RevenueAlthough import demand remains strong, domestic revenues were below target last year by about 0.6% of GDP (or UShs 188bn). This was partly because the economy grew at a slower pace of 7% per year instead of the projected 8.1% p.a. It was also because most of the imports were in the investment category, which enjoys significant tax incentives. However, for the first two months of this financial year, the URA has exceeded their targets by 7% and 2% for July and August, respectively.
This financial year 2009/10, and in the near term, the Government has provided an indirect fiscal stimulus by reducing taxes further, and in line with the EA Customs Union Protocol. With the recent discoveries of oil in Western Uganda, the country’s prospects for domestic revenue and self-reliance in financing public investments and programs are much brighter today than any other time in the past. Therefore, our country’s over-reliance on donor aid, which often comes with unrealistic and unreasonable conditions, will soon be over. However, we shall continue to cooperate with our development partners in these and other important aspects of our social, economic and political progression, particularly in the areas of capacity development. DEVELOPMENTS IN SELECTED PRIORITY AREAS I have relentlessly continued to spell out the achievements in several sectors of the economy we have made so far, while noting the need to make concerted effort towards the further development of Uganda. This is because we all need to appreciate where we have come from over the last 40 years of independence, which sets the basis for what we need to do to become a modern country. On several occasion I have noted the need to ensure that we have a firm foundation for development and socio-economic progress by emphasizing public investments in infrastructure, including energy, roads, rails and water transport; in human development to ensure an educated an healthy population and labour force.
These interventions remain the bedrock for economic progress and development in years to come. Government Investment Strategy and Priorities The NRM Government has achieved much success in rehabilitating the economy it found in ruins. New private investment has come on stream, financed through domestic resources and foreign direct investment. The policy of liberalization and privatization has therefore served us well. In spite of this success, it is now clear that in order to sustain high economic growth, reduce poverty faster and create employment, a new investment approach is required to increase productivity and competitiveness of the economy. This is because, future high economic growth will result from productivity growth in the economy since we have now fully recovered from under utilization. After learning from our own experience, the government has decided to scale up investment in infrastructure and agriculture in addition to continuing with efforts to further improve the business policy environment.
For those strategic areas where the private sector finds it difficult to start on their own; either because it is too risky or involves large capital outlays, Government will partner with them. Where necessary and the private sector is not forthcoming, the Government will invest in those strategic areas, with a view to relinquishing them to the private sector at a later stage. These actions will help us to avoid a situation where poor infrastructure is taking a big toll on the economy and employment. Uganda does not have enough factories to employ our youth and the private sector is not expanding fast enough because of the high cost of doing business. However, for this quasi-market approach to succeed, the high cost to the economy of inefficiencies, including corruption, in the implementation of public programs and projects must be dealt with. Spending ministries and other Government agencies must show value for public resources and must account for the utilization of these resources.
The Minister of Finance should organize quarterly reviews of progress in the implementation of Government programs and projects which I will personally chair. Before we start getting oil revenue, I envisage a temporary increase in our external borrowing to finance especially roads development, railways, irrigation and other priority projects and programs. The Government, through the National Planning Authority, has prepared the National Development Plan which will guide investment priorities and which will be closely linked to the budgeting process. What I like about the National Development Plan is that it reflects the new public investment paradigm I just outlined, that is, Government playing a much bigger role in investment decisions and directly investing in areas which previously we were told were exclusively for the private sector. Agriculture and Value Addition Following the restructuring of NAADS and the concerted efforts to remove wastage and theft of resources by officials, Government will now actively promote value addition in agriculture. The Government has put in place an agricultural credit guarantee scheme to encourage banks to lend to agriculture at lower interest rates.
The Government has provided UShs 30 billion under the scheme primarily for acquisition of agricultural equipment and agro-processing. Commercial banks are to provide another UShs 30 billion. The Government has also provided resources for water for production especially in the cattle corridors and plans are underway to intensify irrigation. Government is also promoting commercial farming and the linkage with small farmers as a means of improving rural agricultural productivity.
Infrastructure Development Energy InfrastructureIn energy infrastructure, the expansion of generation capacity that we have witnessed in the recent past with thermal power as a stop-gap measure will continue until cheaper sources such as the Bujagali Hydropower Project come on board. To alleviate the damage to business of inadequate power, Government invested in thermal power production. A total of 100 MW of additional thermal power plant capacity was procured and installed at Namanve in Kampala (50 MW) and at Mutundwe Sub-station in Kampala (50 MW), with Government continuing to provide a subsidy to make the tariff affordable. The completion of the major and mini-hydro power stations will help to reduce production of expensive thermal power. The Bujagali Hydropower Project will in the course of the next eighteen months deliver the first electricity from the Dam, which will lower the costs of generation from the more expensive electricity generated by thermal generators. This will be followed by the development of other hydropower projects such as Karuma, which been delayed following my insistence that a larger 700 Megawatt Project be built instead of the 200 Megawatts that had initially been proposed. Other potential hydropower sites at Ayago and Isimba will also forthwith be developed to provide much needed energy for development. These hydropower projects will be the first ever since the Kiira-Nalubaale Complex that was built over fifty years ago before Uganda got independence; and therefore marks the onset of a genuine development phase for Uganda.
In order to evacuate power from these stations to centers of electricity consumption such as industries, mines and urban areas, commensurate investments in High Voltage Transmission lines will be undertaken. The Hoima-Nkenda-Fort-Portal and the upgrading of the Kampala-Masaka transmission lines will also commence next year. Cheaper sources of power generation will also allow a massive rural electrification programme to be implemented since power will be made affordable for rural populations that wish to engage in productive ventures that require electricity in addition to other domestic uses that will ultimately save our environment. Government has already extended electricity services to Kibaale, Kanungu and Kalangala Districts. In addition, power supply has been extended to Bugiri-Nankoma up to Waka Waka fish landing site and Rugyeyo tea factory. A number of mini-hydro power stations are being constructed around the country under the rural electrification programme, in partnership with the private sector.
I have recently heard concerns being raised about the level of losses in the distribution of electricity. This problem is not new as I consciously directed the sector Minister to implement measures that would reduce electricity losses when the costs of electricity rose following low Lake Victoria levels resulting from the 2005 drought. It is clear that the sector has not done enough to reduce these losses and Government will be providing further support to reduce losses through greater investments over and above those the private sector contracted to undertake when the distribution concession was made. With respect to thieves of electricity, who contribute to large proportion of these non-technical losses, the Ministry of Energy, and the Uganda Police should apprehend and prosecute these elements and I am appealing to the Courts of Law and the Electricity Tribunal to mete out the maximum sentences possible as deterrence to these detractors of development. Regional projects in the energy sector, railway transport, and communications/ICT will be important stimuli for the regional economy, and these need to be harnessed.
The under-sea cable internet connectivity and hinterland backbone internet infrastructure projects are underway. Transportation Infrastructure On transportation infrastructure, there is no doubt that the NRM Government has made tremendous progress not only in rehabilitating road infrastructure but building new roads and ensuring greater linkages between the remoteness point of our country. While many people deride the state of road infrastructure, they need to remember that the sustained rapid growth of the economy over the last twenty years has created much more road infrastructure needs given the many more vehicles on our roads. The increase in economic activity that has occurred over the past many years of NRM leadership, together with the prospects for economic growth and development call for increased transport infrastructure. This requires not only greater investment in road construction and maintenance but the development of alternative routes and modes of transportation as well. The Road Fund that will finance road maintenance has now been operationalized and funded to start implementing road maintenance work plans for all districts beginning January 2010. The increased economic activity brought about by the NRM Government’s correct economic policy management also makes it mandatory that Uganda cannot continue to rely on only the traditional route to the sea through Mombasa.
Therefore, the NRM Government will commence the development of the Southern Route to the Indian Ocean through Lake Victoria on a fast-track basis over the next year to provide an alternative to Mombasa for both exports and imports. The Minister of Transport should ensure the fast-track implementation of the re-opening of the Railway line to Kasese, Tororo and Gulu-Bibia to facilitate trades with Sudan and the construction of new rail links from Bihanga in Western Uganda to the Central Corridor in Tanzania. Water transport services also need to be developed along Lake Albert to Adjumani on the White Nile and also further the capacity of lake transportation on the Kyoga and Victoria lakes. Human DevelopmentThe NRM Government has placed Human Development central to the achievement of the social and economic well-being of Ugandans. In the provision of public services in the education, health and water and sanitation sectors, the NRM Government has been resolute in ensuring universal access and removing the traditional barriers to people accessing services that are their right. EducationIn the Education sector, the NRM Government has ensured that all school-going aged children at primary and secondary levels can access free education. Today, up to 9 million Ugandan school going age children are in primary school. Three million children who are of primary and school going age are not in school because of social constraints and other impediments that families have, even though education for them is free and available. The NRM Government will work towards ensuring that these other constraints are dealt with; and ensure measures that will enable all children get an education, including the enforcement of the Education Act 2008 that makes education compulsory. The resources for educating the children have been budgeted for and if it wasn’t for the wastage and leakages by bureaucrats, better results would be evident. To date the following achievements at the primary education level since 1997 are important to note.
1. Classroom stock rose from 69,990 to 82,165;
2. Teachers houses constructed rose from 531 to 21,229;
3. Number of textbooks rose from 4,380,768 to 12,258,914
4. Number of Pit Latrine Stances in Government Schools rose from 26,388 to 159,696;
5. Number of children passing PLE rose from 273,379 to 348,489
6. Drop out rates in all schools has stagnated at 4%
7. Achievement of numeracy in primary 6 has improved modestly from 20.5% (2003/04) to 33% Since the NRM Government universalized secondary education in 2007, the percentage of pupils who are enrolled from Primary Seven and Senior Secondary 1 has increased from less than half the number who pass primary leaving examinations (43.5%) to almost three-quarter (73.3%). In addition, the NRM Government has over the same period built 39 seed secondary schools in sub-counties that did not have any secondary school and has sourced and obtained funding from the African Development Bank to construct an additional 25.
Given that great strides have been made in formal education, the NRM Government will now place even greater emphasis on Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) Institutions. This will ensure that graduates of the education system at all levels can acquire the necessary skills that will either make them employable as technicians and skilled workers in our growing economy or even become self-employed as artisans and craftsmen. Last Independence Day I announced that in addition to the 62 Government and private technical schools in Uganda, the NRM Government will be building one technical school in every district.
These technical schools will provide the necessary technical skills such as carpentry, metalwork, ceramics, brick-laying, electrical studies, motor-mechanics, etc, as well as new subjects such as food technology, industrial chemistry, and ICT. Health The NRM Government has over the years ensured that a minimum health care package that effectively targets the most common causes of ill-health and death are dealt with. Special attention has been given to increasing access for the poor and the disadvantaged to health

H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveniservices. As a result of this and the deliberate policy of abolishing user charges in government health units, there was an influx of patients especially from poor families seeking treatment from Government clinics.
The NRM Government in order to meet growing demand for health care services has also improved physical access to health services especially in the remote areas through expansion of health infrastructure. For example, by 2004, 400 new Health Centres II had been constructed, 180 HC II upgraded to HCIII, theatre construction had been undertaken in 144 HCIVs and Medical Officers’ Houses had been constructed in 133 HCIVs. During the last FY 2008/09, Government embarked on rehabilitation of 10 Regional Referral hospitals namely: Masaka, Lira, Soroti, Fort Portal, Jinja, Gulu, Hoima, Mbarara and Kabale. Partial rehabilitation has been undertaken in 7 district hospitals of Kambuga, Bududa, Nebbi, Apac, Moyo, Tororo and Masafu. Through the Primary Health Care (PHC) Development Grant, 223 Health facilities have been partially rehabilitated in various districts countrywide. Uganda continues to enjoy excellent relations on the international scene. The essence of independence is to consolidate socio-economic, political and ideological independence. Unity of all Ugandans is, therefore, an imperative in the protection of Uganda’s destiny and independence. We must jealously guard our achievements, while we execute the vision of the transformation of our society. I wish you all a happy independence.I thank you.
UBOS and BOU Statistics, 2008