Ireland grants $109 m for poverty and education

The Republic of Ireland is to give US $109 million to Uganda for education and poverty-reduction projects, the head of development cooperation at the Irish embassy in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, told IRIN on Monday.

"Ireland will provide $90 million in general budget support to the Poverty Action Fund and sectoral budget support to the health, education, justice, law and order sectors, and to the National Adult Literacy Programme," Liz Higgins said.

Education grants totalling $10 million had also been allocated, she added.

Uganda’s minister of finance, Ezra Suruma, and the Irish ambassador to Uganda, Martin O’Fainin, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday, under which Ireland undertook to provide the budgetary support, the development head said.

According to Higgins, Development Cooperation Ireland - the Irish government’s programme for assisting developing countries -will provide an additional $9 million for Uganda’s Local Government Development Programme and its National Agricultural Advisory Services.

Higgins said all the funds would be disbursed by 2007.

At the signing on Friday, O’Fainin said it was important that the process of constitutional change and political transition taking place in Uganda be handled in "an inclusive, transparent and fair manner, which will command broad confidence of the Ugandan people - as well as Uganda's international friends".