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UNCDF, EU Commission Infrastructure to Spur Economic Development in West Nile Region :: Uganda Radionetwork
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UNCDF, EU Commission Infrastructure to Spur Economic Development in West Nile Region

Caroline Adriaensen, the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Uganda, revealed that the 150 million euros invested in these projects came from the European Union and received co-funding from local government entities.
Caroline Adriaensen and Minister Grace Kwiyucwiny unveiling the Adibo pipe water system in Yumbe. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

Audio 6

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the European Union (EU) have jointly commissioned essential infrastructure, including water systems, roads, and market facilities, valued at 150 million euros for the benefit of the community in the West Nile sub-region. Among the notable facilities are the Adibo solar-powered pipe water system in Arafa Sub County and the Kuru market in Kuru Trading Centre, both within the Yumbe district. 

The Adibo water system is valued at 1.97 billion Shillings, while the Kuru market development cost 736 million Shillings. In a move aimed at advancing socioeconomic services and improving livelihoods, the community officially received these infrastructure developments on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. In Adjumani and Moyo districts, the UNCDF and EU unveiled 119 kilometers and 143.5 kilometers of first-class marram roads, respectively. 

The roads include among others 13.216-kilometer Unna-Miniki, 7.5km Metu-Ayaa link road, 17.60 km Amwa-Abeso, 3.46 km Ajugopi-Miniki road, 26.3km Ajugopi-Nyeu road, 7.91km Eleukwe-Ajugo.  Others are 11.24km Pacara-Ogujebe road, 89.0km Kureke-bira via Fuda road, 8.45 Ofua TC-Pakwinya km road, 5.67km Ayiri-Maasa road and 9.34km Magburu PS-Kobo Landing Site road.  These roads serve as community access routes and are under district management. 

The objective of these roads is to enhance transport infrastructure, stimulate development, increase household income, reduce transportation costs, foster socio-economic progress, and improve access to services. The comprehensive project, spanning five years from 2017 to this year, was undertaken as part of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU). 

It received funding support from the European Union through the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and was executed by the Ministry of Local Government. In addition to infrastructure development, the project encompassed several other components, such as enhancing local revenue, asset management, providing equipment and tools, revitalizing parish development committees, and supporting agricultural revitalization.   

Caroline Adriaensen, the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Uganda, revealed that the 150 million euros invested in these projects came from the European Union and received co-funding from local government entities. She noted that this integrated project addressed multiple aspects of development, including governance, training, revenue enhancement, business improvement, livelihood enhancement, and infrastructure development, such as roads and transport to facilitate social services and education. 

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Dmitry Pozhidaev, the Head of the UNCDF Office in Uganda and Regional Technical Advisor, emphasized that their focus extended beyond roads to encompass the improvement of social services. He highlighted that this approach aligned with the achievement of sustainable development goals. 

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State Minister for Northern Uganda Grace Kwiyucwiny applauded the EU and UNCDF for their interventions, recognizing the positive impact on access to social services, health, local revenue, and livelihoods.

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Beneficiaries of these projects and local leaders emphasized the potential for new economic opportunities and solutions to significant challenges. Among the challenges addressed were difficulties in responding to health emergencies due to poor roads, health issues stemming from unclean water sources, and revenue leakages due to physical cash transactions.

In Yumbe district, the solar-powered pipe water system has already connected 104 households, ensuring a constant water supply from the Oya River. This access to clean water is anticipated to improve health and reduce domestic violence resulting from water scarcity. 

Doris Diko, a beneficiary in Arafa Sub County, expressed the transformation brought by the water system, citing the previous need to travel over five kilometers for borehole water, leading to numerous challenges, including domestic violence, waterborne diseases, and teenage pregnancies. 

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In Adjumani, Ben Anyama, the district chairperson, credited the Integrated Revenue Administration System (IRAS), introduced under DINU, for boosting local revenue collection from 1.3 billion to 1.9 billion shillings in previous financial years. 

Beneficiaries underscored the system's advantages, including comprehensive revenue data, real-time monitoring, instant feedback to taxpayers, enhanced taxpayer confidence, and convenience for distant taxpayers.

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The handover ceremonies for these facilities and infrastructure developments were attended by key government officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Members of Parliament, local government leaders, and other stakeholders, all under the leadership of State Minister for Northern Uganda Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny.