By: Ismael Kasooha
The Prime Minister of Uganda Robinah Nabbanja has met the Dutch Minister Liesje Schreinemacher, with whom they discussed trade and development cooperation between the two countries.
During the meeting that took place at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala on Wednesday, Nabbanja said that Uganda and the Kingdom of Netherlands have had a long standing cooperation as partners in development, particularly in refugee response.
“Uganda has a progressive and open door policy for refugees and other people fleeing for safety and security because we know that no one ever chooses to be a refugee. When refugees come here, they are treated humanely and with dignity because that is the right thing to do. We do not behave like some countries where we see desperate people being blocked and made to drown in the sea,” said Nabbanja.
The Dutch –Uganda Development Policy focuses on security, enhancing trade and investment, climate change, sexual and reproductive health, among other projects.
Nabbanja appreciated the long standing cordial relationship existing between the two countries.
She said that welcoming and supporting Refugees is a global responsibility that requires global solidarity and commended the Ugandan host communities for allowing refugees stay with them.
“Our communities have played host to many refugees for decades. It is important that the International community comes in to support them to remain resilient. I am glad that the Netherlands is playing its role in supporting refugees and host communities in the areas of education, jobs and improving livelihoods,” noted Nabbanja.
The Netherlands remain one of the biggest markets for Ugandan goods in the European Union.
The Annual Harvest Money Expo-organized by Vision Group, an agribusiness exhibition arising out of Uganda’s best farmer’s competition, offers a platform that directly links Uganda’s agribusiness to Dutch suppliers of modern technology.
The visiting Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher, pledged continued cooperation with Uganda.
She lauded Uganda’s open door policy in managing refugees fleeing to Uganda.
“We are grateful to Uganda for allowing over 1.5 million refugees into its territory and also welcoming them,” said Liesje.
However Liesje said that the policy of having all planned interventions approved by the president is slowing down the implementation of some activities because of delays.
“We appeal to government to at least decentralize some of the approvals so that interventions can be timely,” said Liesje.
The meeting was attended by the Second Deputy Prime Minster who is also Deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament Retired General Moses Ali, Minister of Foreign Affairs General JJ Odongo and other Senior Government Officials.