Leaders hailing from Busoga region have developed an 11 point development agenda that is aimed at empowering the region economically, to fight poverty, among other social challenges.
A 2018 report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistic (UBOS) ranked Busoga region as one of the regions with the highest poverty prevalence in the country.
It is poverty among other social and economic challenges that leaders from Busoga irrespective of political differences have come together under their group Busoga Consortium for development, to address the challenges using the 11 point development agenda model.
“We have in the past, mixed politics and development as leaders in Busoga. It is this politics that has lagged us behind in terms of development, so we are optimistic that economically, this development agenda is going to boost the region,” Titus Kisambira, the LC5 Chairperson Jinja district said.
Kisambira, who doubles as the chairperson of the Busoga Consortium said working with the Chinese government, the consortium has identified a number of investors who are willing to invest in the region, to drive the development agenda.
He noted that already, 600 acres of land have been set aside around Iganga district industrial park, to boost investment in the region.
“In the next two to three years, Busoga region will not be the same in terms of development. We have already received three Chinese companies who are going to set up an industrial park in Jinja; they want to be exporting chicken to China. We believe investments like these can drive development and also create jobs for our people,” Kisambira said.
Launched at Parliament, the 10-year development agenda has 11 development pillars. These include; promotion of Education and skills development, Tourism, culture and heritage, commercialisation of agriculture, development of regional infrastructure with the focus on roads, railway, water, and air transport, mineral development, and urbanization and human settlement.
Other pillars for development in the agenda are strengthening the Obwa Kabazinga bwa Busoga, improvement in health, industrialisation, environment protection and preservation and land management and registration.
“We are very optimistic this agenda will take us where we want to be as a region, economically. We have had several consultations about this agenda with communities in Busoga and it is these issues in the agenda that our people want to be addressed,” MP Mariam Naigaga (Namutumba district), the Parliamentary Coordinator Busoga Consortium said.
Unveiling the pillars, Anthony Mula, the technical head Busoga Consortium, noted that through education, the region is engaging the government to establish a regional University in Busoga with a focus on sciences and innovations.
For technical education, Mula said the region is also pushing for the promotion of vocational and technical education for skills development, which he said provides ready employment.
“We are looking at identifying a number of schools as model schools for skills development, through vocational and technical education so that students who are not able to proceed to University can acquire technical skills,” Mula said.
On March 6, Speaker of Parliament Rebeca Kadaga, also Patron of Busoga Consortium met Busoga leaders who among others included ministers Esther Mbayo, MPs and district chairpersons for views on how best the programme can be achieved.
Kadaga who is currently on bed rest said the Busoga region has untapped mineral resources such as gold, which can be used to improve its economic ratings and the wellbeing of the people in Busoga.
Kadaga tasked the former minister for energy Daudi Migereko, a member of the Busoga Consortium to liaise with experts on minerals to ensure that such minerals are extracted.
Busoga Consortium has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (M.o.U) with 10 districts that make up the Busoga region.
In the M.o.U, districts have made commitments such as sharing technical assistance, experts on road construction and equipment to achieve goals like infrastructure development in the region.
Mula said besides external funding for the agenda, a certain percentage will be agreed on, where districts can allocate funds for the implementation of the agenda whose resolution has been passed by all the district councils in the region.
He added that the development agenda will be introduced to the central government for use as a development model for other regions in the country.