By Francis Kagolo
The Swedish government has earmarked about sh514b ($200m) to improve child and maternal health over the coming five years.
This is contained in Sweden’s new development cooperation strategy for 2014-2018 announced over the weekend.
The aid package seeks to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as promote sustainable growth and employment. Sweden also wants to use the aid to strengthen respect for human rights.
“Swedish development cooperation with Uganda will change. The focus will continue to be on reducing poverty, reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health,” reads a statement from the Swedish embassy in Kampala.
“But by broadening our cooperation, especially with civil society and the private sector, the prospects for making a difference in meeting the most crucial challenges in Uganda are increased.”
The new allocation bolsters Sweden’s position as one of Uganda’s key development partners. In 2013, the total amount of Swedish aid to Uganda was £21m (about sh75.1b).
In March, Sweden was among the donor countries that had announced aid cuts to Uganda after the signing of the controversial anti-homosexuality law in February.
Swedish minister for international development, Hillevi Engström, at the time, said they had chosen to suspend $1m budget support directly to Uganda with the exception of research cooperation.
Sweden was the fourth donor to cut aid following the World Bank, Norway and Denmark.
The new areas of cooperation, according to the statement, will include innovation, employment issues and strengthened collaboration with the business sector and the research community.
"Sweden wants to help create better conditions in Uganda for sustainable economic growth and development. This is why Swedish aid to Uganda will remain substantial. Sweden continues to support human rights and freedom from violence,” the statement quoted Hillevi as saying.
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