British royal Princess Anne, has commended Uganda’s road transport and logistics industry for nurturing a sustainable model for professional driver training that has a direct bearing on road safety.
Born Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, she made the remarks while officiating at the International Development Organisation’s annual showcase event in London. She is also patron of Transaid.
According to a press statement, the event revolved around the recent launch of the Professional Driver Training Uganda (PDTU) project.
Transaid is one of the implementing partners of the PDTU project, alongside GIZ E4D/SOGA - Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa and Safe Way Right Way.
The project is funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
“The number of people dying on the road each year in sub-Saharan Africa is third only to deaths from malaria and HIV/AIDS,” said Princess Anne.
“We have the ability to reduce that figure through road safety projects. The extraordinary support the transport and logistics industry has shown to Transaid demonstrates the huge value of professional driver training,” she said.
Ruth Nsubuga, Safe Way Right Way Project coordinator, noted that PDTU’s ambitious plans had already resulted in 10 driver trainers.
“We have already had more than 2,000 people register their interest in being trained as a professional driver and we plan to start training our first drivers from November” Nsubuga said.
During the launch of the PDTU project in July this year, State Minister of Energy Simon D’Ujanga, noted that in the next three to five years, Uganda was expecting a total investment of about $20 billion in the oil and gas sub-sector alone.
D’Ujanga noted that such projection is crucial in comparison with the country’s GDP of $27b.
British Deputy High Commissioner to Uganda, Sarah Mann observed that the PDTU project was in line with the government’s National Content Policy and Plan.
“The development of skills is critical in ensuring that nationals are able to participate in important sectors like oil and gas and industrialisation. Specifically for Uganda, the programme supports the government’s ambitions in developing national content.”
The PDTU project is a strategic intervention aimed at responding to anticipated high and increasing demand for qualified commercial drivers.
It is expected that in coming years, transport and logistics companies serving oil and gas infrastructure projects and other large scale investments in Uganda will hire over 2000 new drivers.
The overall project objective therefore is to build capacity of Heavy Goods Vehicles and Passenger Service Vehicle driver training in cooperation with industry partners.
Successful professional driver training is intended to lead to increased employment of Ugandan drivers and improved road safety in the country.