Uganda conducts first high level dialogue since Addis Ababa on financing sustainable developmentAug 10, 2015
On 20 July, 2015, Uganda was the first country to locally discuss Financing for Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was adopted on 16 July at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development. The Declaration is seen as an historical agreement, designed to mark a turning point in international cooperation by revitalizing the global partnership.
Implications of the Action Agenda for implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Uganda were discussed with High-Level support from Ugandan President of the UN General Assembly, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the UN Resident Coordinator, the Director of the National NGO Forum, the Uganda Revenue Authority, Bank of Uganda, Kingston Enterprise, Pepsi, CEDA International and Tullow Oil.
During her statement, UN Resident Coordinator Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie asked people in Uganda to focus on resources readily available and which can become catalysts to spur economic growth. To effectively finance sustainable development in Uganda, illicit financial flows, teacher absenteeism in the education sector, persistence of gender inequality and lack of sufficient formal employment for Uganda’s youth need to be put at the center of the discussion.
Dr. Carlos Lopes, the Executive Secretary of UNECA spoke in his intervention about the need to focus Official Development Assistance (ODA) on seven top priorities: enabling development, tax administration and customs, development of credit insurance schemes, intellectual property, reform of the education sector, debt management systems and transnational infrastructure management.
The President of the UN General Assembly Hon. Sam Kutesa, noted that the SDGs can provide a lucrative investment opportunity for the private sector. He pointed out that in order to realize Uganda’s development objectives, domestic resource mobilization from traditional and non-traditional sources needs to increase significantly.
For the discussion on the potential role of Uganda’s private sector in the country’s sustainable development process, the dialogue had support from leading business persons. of Kingston Enterprise, Jimmy Mugerwa, Managing Director of Tullow Oil and Rehmah Kasule, Director of CEDA International. The panelists stressed the importance of affordable financing, training and mentorship for young entrepreneurs, simplified tax collection mechanisms, political stability and a friendly investment climate.
In line with the principle of the new agenda to be as inclusive and participatory as possible, the Dialogue was open to students, Civil Society Organizations, entrepreneurs, Development Partners, UN staff, Government and diplomats, adding up to more than 400 participants. Through U-report, over 22’000 people in Uganda shared their take on the future of financing Uganda’s development and more than 400’000 people were engaged through the #Post2015Ug Twitter campaign.
One of the biggest challenges U-reporters reported towards succeeding, is access to services. Despite universal education, there are hidden costs that those from poorer families cannot afford. While half (55%) of the respondents believe that their chances at success in life are not equal, there is increasing optimism. Young people seem to believe that the presence of peace and improved access to education and health services are creating opportunities that did not exist for previous generations.
As an example, a young woman from Buikwe told us: “Gone are the days when youth used to look at their parents, government and foreign aid to provide for their needs. Nowadays youth have learnt that they have a million chances to make themselves prosper. And this has very little to do with other people but themselves”.