$2b to boost peace in Great Lakes region

from New Vision
Published on 28 Mar 2006
By Joyce Namutebi
Great Lakes Region (GLR) member states, including Uganda, are to spend about US$2b (over sh36 trillion) for five years on projects intended to bring harmony and a new zone of peace and prosperity.

Budget experts from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan, DRC, the Republic of Congo, Zambia and representatives from the United Nations and African Union are meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kampala, to aggregate budgets of various projects and programmes to be implemented.

Present are representatives of the Group of Friends (28 countries), Ivan Godfroid and Sylvie Kinigi.

The Permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign affairs and national coordinator, J. B Onen said, "If we fully implement the product of these combined efforts, we should turn the Great Lakes Region into a region of peace and prosperity".

Areas of focus are peace and security, good governance and democracy, economic development and regional integration, and social and humanitarian issues.

According to the GLR conference coordinator, Sarah Birete, all projects would cost US$2b, while 'the follow up mechanism for the Secretariat is to cost US$7m for five years.

Onen told journalists that the GLR is a big black spot in Africa and that security for all the 11 countries constituting the region was important. He said the region has the largest natural resource base that attracts foreign attention and became a theatre of cold war fighting between the East and west in the 1950s.