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Uganda, UK Discuss Strengthening Bilateral Ties

posted onJuly 29, 2021

Uganda’s High Commissioner to United Kingdom Julius Peter Moto met with Kate Airey, the British envoy to Kampala for a discussion that focused on a number of areas of cooperation, including investment, health, education and regional peace and security.

During the Tuesday London meeting, Ambassador Moto underscored the importance of strengthening mutually beneficial commercial and economic ties between Uganda and United Kingdom, officials said in a statement.

He also highlighted numerous opportunities for trade and investment in various sectors especially agriculture and agro-processing, infrastructure, mining and minerals, tourism, oil & gas, ICT, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals to create decent and sustainable jobs for Ugandan youths, reads the statement.

The East African nation has also put in place a number of initiatives to promote trade between the countries and Uganda Airlines is expected to commence commercial flights to the United Kingdom in November 2021.

On her part, Kate urged the Peter Moto to follow up on the protocols of the forthcoming 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.

The duo also mooted an idea of holding a concurrent media coffee tasting event in Kampala and London, and collaboration to boosting research in Uganda’s education system, says the statement.

Ambassador Moto asked the Airey to tell her bosses that Uganda needs its support to acquire Covid-19 vaccines.

Uganda's strategy is mass vaccination of the eligible population (22 million representing 49.8%) as a means of optimal control of the pandemic and full opening up of the economy.

The government wants to access vaccines for the eligible population: 18 years and above.

In addition, consideration will be given to children aged 12-15 years with comorbidities.

The Ministry of Health has generated a priority list of COVID 19 vaccines that can be used in the country and they include: AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer BioNTech, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Moderna Sputnik V and Sputnik Lite. Apart from Moderna and Sputnik, emergency use of the rest have been authorized by National Drug Authority.

Vaccines are being secured through the Covax facility, African Union, manufacturers and donations.

Uganda has already placed an order 9 million doses through COVAX and it's awaiting feedback on availability.

Another order of 2 million has been made through Johnson and Johnson through AU with a down payment of $3 million. Organizations have also been permitted to procure vaccines and vaccinate their staff after approval from National Medical Stores.

Embassies have also been ordered to search for available vaccines on the market.

The UK government through United Kingdom Agency for International Development, or UKAID, recently injected £500,000 (about Shs2.4 billion) into purchasing supplies for hospitals in Uganda.

They were used to acquire 7,500-litre oxygen cylinders, protective gear for health workers, and this is projected to benefit about 1.8 million people.

The first supplies went to Mulago National Referral Hospital, Namboole Covid-19 Treatment Centre, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and Moroto Regional Referral Hospital.

The funds have also help to support 4 oxygen plants, erection of a new oxygen plant at Kayunga Referral Hospital.

The PPEs were taken to Arua Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Moroto Regional Referral Hospital.

Some of the funds were committed to training of health care workers in PPE and oxygen use.

Uganda and the U.K. maintain a strong relationship in different sectors, including trade.

For instance, in 2018 Uganda exports to the United Kingdom were valued at US$9.66 million during 2018, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

Uganda mainly sells vegetables, fruits, tea, hides and skins and cut flowers to the UK while the UK sells medicinal and pharmaceutical products, power generating machinery and equipment, electrical machinery among others to Uganda.

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