By Raymond Baguma
THE World Bank has approved $325m (about sh715b) in loans to Uganda to finance the education and energy sectors, as well as post-war recovery in the north, for the next five years.
The funds will be used under the second phase of the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund, the Energy for Rural Transformation and the Universal Post-Primary Education and Training Programme.
The agreements were signed yesterday by finance minister Syda Bbumba and the bankâ€™s country manager Kundhavi Kadiresan.
A total of $100m to NUSAF II will finance job creation, income-generation for female-headed households, people with disabilities, former abductees and vulnerable youth.
The funds will also go towards the rehabilitation of community infrastructure such as roads and the improvement in accountability and transparency mechanisms.
Another $150m will go to post-primary education, particularly the construction of classrooms, curriculum examination, teacher training and development of a national strategy for vocational and technical education.
A further $75m will go to the second phase of the energy for rural transformation programme while a $9m will go to promote use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The programme is aimed at improving productivity and quality of life of rural households.
This will be done through the construction of mini-hydropower plants and electricity lines to extend power to rural areas, as well as setting up fast Internet.
Also, the funds will support setting up community information centres with ICT labs and Internet connection in rural schools and health centres.
â€œThe Government will ensure that these programmes are implemented on schedule,â€ said Bbumba during the signing ceremony. â€œThe Government has put in place measures for monitoring and accountability to ensure timely utilisation of resources and value for money.â€
The World Bank country manager, on her part, said the projects underlined the bankâ€™s â€œcommitment to Ugandaâ€™s economic and social transformationâ€.
â€œThis, in turn, is dependent on peace and reconstruction, human capital development and reducing the cost of doing business through more efficient infrastructure,â€ she added.