The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has commended the Japanese Government in partnership with Uganda for the initiative of a high quality infrastructure conference aimed at addressing the infrastructure gap, which is a major bottleneck for the growth and development of Sub –Saharan Africa.
Dr Rugunda said high quality infrastructure is critical in the country’s transformation process especially at this time when Uganda is striving to become a middle income country by 2020.
The Premier made these remarks at the official opening of the Uganda-Japan Public-Private Conference for High Quality Infrastructure at Hotel Africana on Monday.
Dr Rugunda said Government prioritizes infrastructure development because it stimulates sustainable economic growth.
“High quality infrastructure preserves the investment and saves government from avoidable high maintenance costs. As a result, the government has constantly increased funding to the sector of transport and works over the past few years,” Dr Rugunda said.
The Premier also pointed out that the government of Uganda values the nearly 30 years of active cooperation it has enjoyed with the government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and thus pledged government’s commitment to this relationship.
Dr Rugunda was optimistic that the conference will strengthen the already established partnerships between the people of Uganda and Japan through investment and transfer of knowledge and skills, adding that this will enable government to achieve high quality infrastructure development.
He urged Ugandan participants in the conference to seize and utilise the available opportunities within the partnership frameworks to develop and transform the nation.
The State Minister, Ministry of lands, infrastructure, transport and tourism of Japan, Shinsuke Suematsu, said there was need to enhance diplomatic relations within Africa for the development of African countries.
He highlighted the need for improvement of infrastructure, noting that high quality infrastructure is urgent because it eases transport, it is durable, secure and safe and also deters slow economic progress of a country.
Shinsuke urged government to enhance the control of traffic and use high quality infrastructure in the urbanisation process.
The Japanese Minister assured the participants that the conference will enhance the technological transfer and human resource development of Ugandans.
Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport, Eng Monica Ntege Azuba, requested the Japanese government through JICA to improve the capacity of local contractors so that they can be able to participate effectively in the development of Uganda.
She also thanked the Japanese government for the continued support rendered to the government of Uganda through JICA to improve the control of traffic flow by establishing junctions at Natete, Wandegeya, Nsambya, Ggaba and other places of the country.
The Ambassador of Japan to Uganda, H.E Kazuaki Kameda said Japan is keen to the development of African countries and thus pledged its continued support to Uganda in her development projects especially the road transport network.
He however, urged Ugandan participants in the conference to freely communicate the challenges the country is facing in the transport sector to enable exchange of ideas and solutions.
The conference brings together 23 leading Japanese companies that will present and share expertise knowledge and skills regarding infrastructure with different construction ministries, companies and contractors.
By Doreen Nasasira