By Raymond Baguma
KAMPALA - The state minister for foreign affairs Henry Okello-Oryem has hailed Ireland for supporting implementation of management and accountability reforms in Uganda’s public sector.
He was on speaking at celebrations to mark St. Patrick's Day and 20 years of Irish Aid in Uganda on Thursday. A reception was hosted at the Irish ambassador’s residence in Kololo.
Present were diplomats resident in Kampala, the Irish community in Uganda and government officials.
“Irish aid has been instrumental in supporting the strengthening of public sector management and accountability, with an emphasis on decentralization, the rollout of public sector reform, and enhanced public financial management,” said Oryem.
He added: “We wish to applaud your support to the private sector through Traidlinks which has facilitated the development of a number of Ugandan companies to export their products to other countries.
“And through your support of the justice, law and order sector, Irish Aid has provided an environment conducive to investment, growth and wealth creation.”
He also recognized the support of Irish teachers, nurses and doctors working in various instructions and Irish organizations working to improve governance, the plight of HIV/AIDS victims and educate our children.
During the reception, there was an exhibition of the Irish Aid programmes in Karamoja which has over the last decade received a big percentage of funding from Ireland.
He also hailed Ireland for its participation through the European Union (EU) which has ensured the rule of law and peace and stability in the great lakes region of Afric .
“Uganda will continue to offer a secure environment and good economic policies to ensure that investors in Uganda are able to get good returns for their investment as well as provide employment opportunities to our people in addition to promotion of cultural exchanges,” said Oryem.
Donal Cronin, the chargé d’Affaires at the Irish Embassy in Kampala said that this year 2014, the embassy will mark 20 years in Uganda.
“When we established in 1994, we had much to build on of course, such as the work of our fantastic missionaries, like Mother Kevin who arrived way back in 1903, and Irish NGOs such as Concern, Goal and Trócaire who arrived during some of Uganda’s darkest days and are still here today.
He said that Ireland invests in the development of Karamoja region by investing in education, social protection, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
“We believe strongly in the promotion and protection of human rights for everyone, working hard to increase access to justice and to prevent the scourge of Gender Based Violence in Karamoja, and elsewhere,” said Cronin.