Government asks firms to invest in areas with refugees

KAMPALA.

Private companies involved in production and distribution of energy appliances have been asked to start opening up factories/outlets in refugee settlements in Uganda, to supply the increasing energy needs which have led to the problem of deforestation in these areas.

The call was echoed jointly on November 25 by the government through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) during the launch of the Public Private Partnership Strategy on Energy Access among Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda.
Speaking during the launch of the strategy in Kampala, the protection/environmental focal officer in OPM, Mr John Paul Magezi, said the main forms of energy being promoted and used in the refugee settlements include briquettes, solar energy and electricity from the national grid.

“As a result of having this strategy in place, more service providers that address issues of energy will be brought on board to address the existing gaps in energy issue such as the low production levels of currently existing in the refugee settlements,” he said.

Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) among refugees and host communities is an important aspect. In line with global SAFE strategy on Safe Access to Fuel and Energy among refugees, OPM, department of refugees together with UNHCR, partners and refugee hosting districts have been engaged in activities for developing the country Safe Access to Fuel and Energy Strategy.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are around 59.5 million people forcibly dispersed worldwide as a result of conflict, persecution and natural disasters.

The UNHCR representative to Uganda, Mr Bornwell Kantande, said the number of refugees in Uganda is on the increase. “Currently there are 900,000 refugees in Uganda and UNHCR is registering 2,000 people entering Uganda daily in Yumbe (District) coming from South Sudan,” he said.

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