The United Nations Development Fund has offered $50m to Uganda to improve on the environment, agriculture, human rights, energy, tourism, wildlife, and design programmes to effectively absorb workers’ remittances.
The grant is part of an $80m fund earmarked by UNDP to facilitate the five-year Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP). The CPAP is anchored on the country’s priority areas and it hopes to contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
While the grants to such areas like environment and agriculture have been common, it is the funds targeting workers’ remittances that make for interesting reading.
Chris Kasami, secretary to the Treasury, noted that remittances from Ugandans living abroad have grown to unprecedented levels warranting government’s attention.
“We want to streamline those remittances into a formal procedure by designing appropriate policies geared towards economic deepening.”says Kasami.
According to a 2009 BOU report, the value of remittances from Ugandans in the Diaspora increased to $778 million from $732 million in 2008 and projections show that remittances in 2010 amounted to $980.9 million. The report indicates that the remittances are mainly from Europe and America, while over 30% are based in Africa, accounting for 25%.
The ministry of Foreign Affairs has already set up a Diaspora Desk to enable the Ugandan Diaspora effectively participate in the decision making processes of the country. The desk serves as a liaison between various government departments and Ugandans living abroad.