World leaders in Uganda for first Refugee Summit

Uganda is hosting the first Refugee Solidarity Summit backed by the United Nations to find support for the over 1.3 million refugees in the country for the next four years.

Opening on Thursday in Kampala, the two-day summit aims to raise $2 billion for the second largest refugee hosting country globally after Turkey and to showcase Uganda’s celebrated refugee model.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is in Uganda to co-chair the Summit together with President Yoweri Museveni.

Heads of state
Among the heads of state and about 500 dignitaries attending include; Guinean President and Chairman of the African Union Alpha Conde, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Gabonese President Ali Bongo, Zambian President Edgar Lungu and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Beside the pledging event to raise money for the refugees, the dignitaries will embark ‘on a field visit to refugee-hosting districts and refugee settlements around the country to meet with, and appreciate their living conditions.’

The host communities are in 12 districts including Adjumani, Arua, Kampala, Nakivale and Mbarara.

More than 1.3 million refugees crossed into Uganda from South Sudan since the start of the conflict in the world’s newest country in December 2013 with a daily average of 2000 refugees.

The number doubled in 2016 after renewed violence in the troubled country.

The Ugandan government did not only open its borders, but to integrate host communities into their society and to empower the refugees to be economically self-reliant.

The government and the United Nations spent $150 million each to cater for the refugees in 2016. This amount was highly inadequate.

Guterres said on World Refugee Day on Tuesday that “it was worrying for 80 per cent of the world’s refugees to be hosted by developing countries with a dramatic impact on their economy, society and security.’’

He urged governments to manage their borders but to increase their resettlement quotas and protect asylum seekers and people who deserve protection. Guterres also urged them to seek political solutions to world’s conflicts which are spurring the record 65.6 million refugees and to fund humanitarian aid work.

africanews./Mercy Chukwudiebere