Hungary launches economic development scheme in Uganda to halt migration

Migration and terrorism, which are closely interlinked, pose the greatest threat to the security of Europe, and Africa represents the primary source for both.

The foreign minister said Hungary is implementing its largest ever international economic development scheme in Uganda in an effort to halt migration.

During a joint press conference with Ugandan counterpart, Abubaker Jeje Odongo, on Monday, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said “migration and terrorism, which are closely interlinked, pose the greatest threat to the security of Europe” and Africa represents the primary source for both. The Hungarian government believes in enabling locals to stay in their homelands. African countries that want to retain their citizens are important allies in this effort, he said.

“It is a vested interest of European countries and people that the European Union, Brussels, should support these countries in these efforts,” he added. Instead of “constantly increasing the funding for migration”, European resources should be used for stopping it, he added. The government’s position is that help must be taken to where it is needed, he said. As a result, a HUF 5.2 billion (EUR 14.4m) economic development scheme is being implemented with Hungarian financing and by Hungarian participants in Uganda, a country which receives one of the largest number or refugees and migrants in the world, he added.

Hungarian water treatment solutions are being used to provide daily 160,000 liters of drinking water in a refugee camp, mobile health containers have been supplied and a hospital in Kampala is being supplied with Hungarian cardiology equipment, he said. Hungarian companies have set up a cyber security centre and biometric registry for refugees and migrants, and Hungary supports developments in the tourism sector, he added. The security, hygienic and economic developments are planned to enable Ugandan people and migrants in Uganda to stay in place, Minister Szijjártó said. The scheme is planned to continue, with Eximbank opening a 46 million dollar credit line to support Hungarian companies to get involved, he added. In cooperation with Germany, Hungary is participating in a development programme dubbed Sanitation for Millions which involves a 300 million forint contribution to improving hygienic conditions in schools and hospitals, he said. Szijjártó also said that Uganda needs long-term economic development and the modernisation of agriculture is an important area of bilateral cooperation. Hungary has started agricultural training in Uganda to offer competitive skills to local experts. Additionally, twenty Ugandan students can attend Hungarian universities each year with the help of state scholarships. Some 122 applications were submitted for the positions this year, which demonstrated significant interest, he added.

Jeje Odongo thanked Hungary for its support and expressed appreciation of the southern and eastern opening strategies which he said contributed to global cooperation to resolve common challenges. He said vaccination was the most important means in the fight against coronavirus pandemic but warned that vaccines were still not equally available around the world.

Photo credit: MTI