Mak VC asks donors to resume funding

By Hannington Mutabazi

The VC confessed that Uganda through AICAD had achieved greatly from the funding of the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA).

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Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe has asked the Japans Ambassador to Uganda His Excellency Kazuaki Kameda to ask the Japans government to reconsider funding of Uganda.

Nawangwe said this while in a meeting at the African Institute of Capacity Development (AICAD) offices in Makerere University on Wednesday, where the ambassador had paid a courtesy visit.

The VC confessed that Uganda through AICAD had achieved greatly from the funding of the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA). Adding that, Makerere had also benefited indirectly from the funds.

“Makerere University benefited a lot and quite a number of people were trained through the AICAD support and also a lot of research was done,” he said

He acknowledged that the fund selected patent issues for Africa’s development like food security however he worried, that those issues were still patent since the population of Uganda and Africa at large was rapidly increasing and needs to be addressed.

“Uganda is going to surpass the 100 million people mark by 2050 and the issue of food security is extremely important. Higher institutions of Learning and researchers must find solutions to these challenges to ensure that as the population comes there is enough food for them,” he said

The VC also pointed out youth unemployment saying that the region was going to grapple with it because of the increasing young population.

“We enjoyed the support of JICA but it pulled out at the time of greatest need leaving AICAD to support member countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania who cannot fully fund its activities,” Nawangwe added

He noted that by the time JICA pulled out AICAD was supporting hundreds of projects however; now with support from only member’s countries it can only sustain its secretariat and a number of projects.

After AICAD was formed in 2000, JICA financed AICAD in three phases with U$1.5million per year which added up to U$3million by the end of 2012 when JICA closed the programme.

Currently AICAD is financed jointly by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The government of Kenya contributes U$600,000 which is equivalent to sh2.2b, Uganda contributes U$270,000 which is equivalent to sh1b and Tanzania contributes U$200,000 which is equivalent to sh700m.

Responding to the VC, the ambassador said he was going to forward the request of the VC to the Japanese government, however he added that he didn’t want to make any empty promises.

The Ambassador said it was up to Uganda’s academia, leaders and policy makers to make a difference if the country was to overcome challenges like poverty and food insecurity.

He implored leaders to teach farmers through extension workers the new techniques of farming in order for farmers to register formidable results.

He observed that Ugandan farmers were very stubborn and refuse to embrace the new farming techniques because they are not well informed.

The ambassador recognised the effect of climate change on farming in the country saying the only way this was to be mitigated was by employing the new techniques of irrigation and modern farming.

“There is enough space for leaders to talk to local farmers to get tangible efforts to solve issues that affect farmers in this country,” he asserted.

About AICAD

AICAD’S mission is to link knowledge to application in order to reduce poverty in Uganda and East Africa by utilizing newly created or existing knowledge and technology and also utilizing the potential and capacity of local experts.

This is done through research and development, training and extension and information networking and documentation. They work with communities and also collaborate with governmental and private organizations.

AICAD identified its themes in 2003 and it was reviewed in 2004; themes that AICAD follows include Agriculture, food security, water resources management, industrialization, environment conservation, health equity and community development.