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Minister Martin launches new five-year programme of Irish assistance to Uganda

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., is currently on a three day visit to Uganda, one of Ireland’s priority countries, to see at first-hand the impact of the Government’s overseas aid programme and to meet with senior Government representatives, political leaders and members of civil society.

Today, Minister Martin will launch Ireland’s new country strategy programme for Uganda. The programme, which runs from 2010-2015, will see Ireland focussing its support on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Uganda. The main areas of support include targeted programmes in education, tackling HIV and AIDS and providing assistance for peace and reconciliation in Northern Uganda, in particular, the northern area of Karamoja, which is one of the poorest regions in Uganda. The country strategy also marks a new departure for Irish Aid in Uganda because, as well as helping the poor and vulnerable, it will also help build Uganda’s economic development through support for the private sector development. Ireland will also help strengthen Ugandan capacity to manage the significant oil reserves recently discovered in the country for the benefit of all its people.

Speaking in Uganda, Minister Martin said that “Uganda has made huge progress in the last 16 years that Ireland has worked with in partnership with its Government and people. We are seeing real and measurable results on the ground. Poverty levels have reduced, HIV and AIDS rates have declined and the numbers of children in school have increased dramatically. However the country still faces real challenges and that is why Ireland is determined to continue to support Uganda’s efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic development. Throughout our programme we focus on improving the lives of ordinary people. We work with the Ugandan Government, with local civil society organisations, with Irish NGOs such as Concern and Trocaire and with Irish Missionaries, to ensure that our aid is as effective as possible and that we are making a real difference to the lives of those most in need.”

Note for Editors:

Irish Aid is the official development assistance programme of the Irish Government.

Uganda has been an Irish Aid programme country since 1994. It is one of the poorest in the world with chronic poverty levels of some 26%. Irish Aid recently approved its Country Strategy for 2010-2014 for Uganda which will see Ireland focus its support on programmes which assist the most chronically poor and vulnerable through support for HIV and AIDS activities, Education, Gender, Good Governance, Private Sector Development and support for Karamoja – one of the poorest and most disadvantaged regions of the country.