UK pledges Shs187b to support climate smart businesses

 British High Commissioner to Uganda, Ms Katey Airey. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Ms Kate Airey, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, told the delegates that now is the time to translate the paper agreements into action.

The UK-Uganda green growth conference opened last week with opportunities for both Ugandan and British investors to invest in climate smart businesses to spur sustainable economic growth in Uganda. 

The two-day conference  saw UK government committing to invest up to €39m (about Shs187b) for climate smart economic growth and development.

Several UK-based businesses also pledged to invest to create opportunities for thousands of Ugandans.
Key priorities are climate finance, agribusiness, clean energy, clean infrastructure, and urban planning.

Ms Kate Airey, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, told the delegates that now is the time to translate the paper agreements into action.

“It is in all of our self-interest to do so – and do so together. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that our first new overseas development aid programme after COP26 is a £39 million investment over four years in climate smart jobs,” she said.

The investments target growing climate smart agribusinesses to create jobs, providing loans and technical support to businesses to enable them expand, and increase incomes for more than 300,000 households.

It will also support climate smart land management and services by protecting fragile biodiversity that surround agribusinesses and building climate services that require public investment delivering up to £94m (Shs450b) of benefit.

Ms Airey also said both Uganda and UK will work to remove barriers that stop businesses from getting deals, and provide expertise to tackle the specific barriers.

She said the COP26 presented a good opportunity for the world leaders who made commitment to keep the goal of temperatures rising no more than 1.5 degrees alive.

The British High Commissioner said while COP26 took great strides in progressing climate change initiatives at a global stage, she is keen on ensuring that the benefits are realised in Uganda.  Currently, Uganda is the 10th most vulnerable country to the impact of climate change.  

Ministry of Water and Environment data indicates that climate change will cost Uganda between 3-5 percent of GDP per year by 2050 if no action is taken.

Figures from the British High Commission in Kampala indicate that UK has already assisted more than 750,000 people to cope with the effects of climate change and delivered 6 percent of Uganda’s national electricity renewable supply through private investment.  

“We are investing in Lake Victoria marine transport, Namanve industrial park, solar agricultural water pumping systems and electric bodas and we are always looking for the next opportunity to support business and communities adapt and innovate in a climate smart way,”  Ms Airey said.

Mr Matia Kasaija, the Finance minister, told delegates that Uganda is vulnerable to climate change and called for more  action before the situation worsens.

“The country is working on integrated climate change and green growth plan to spur sustainable development. We are committed to ensuring that resources are committed to putting in measures to mitigate impacts of climate change,” he said.

“Uganda is vulnerable to climate change because most of its economic activities are related to green growth,  and therefore we need to have deliberate policies to make sure we address the causes and move to enjoy the benefits of climate smart green growth,” he added.

A report by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, a public policy research and advocacy think tank,  last year said the post-Covid-19 recovery plan had only 28 percent of the national budget catering for natural capital sustainable recovery plan.

According to the report, the assessment of the financial year 2021/2022 national budget revealed that only $3.36b (Shs11.9 trillion) representing 28 percent is responsive, to sustainable natural capital management and green growth, a decline from the$4.8b percent compliance score noted under the FY 2020/2021 budget assessment.

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