“Hungary is realising the largest, 5.1-billion-forint foreign (EUR 16.1 million) development programme in its history in Uganda, jointly with the East African country’s leadership, in the interests of enabling the people who live here and who have sought refuge here to find a living locally and not have to migrate to Europe”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Tuesday from Kampala.

“Uganda is of key importance from the perspective of migration, because some one-and-a-half million refugees from neighbouring countries are living on its territory, currently the most in Africa and the third highest number worldwide”, he stated. “The country’s population is also continuously growing irrespective of this. The country is playing a determining role with relation to peace and stability in East Africa”, the Minister pointed out.

DownloadPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Mr. Szijjártó told the press that Hungary is shipping a high-capacity water purification system to Uganda’s largest refugee camp, which will enable the daily provision of clean drinking water to 200 thousand people. “We are installing a biometric ID system that will enable Uganda to record the refugees arriving here, in addition to which we are realising an agricultural development project, fundamentally within the field of fisheries, that will contribute to providing a solution to the problem of feeding refugees and the population”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“Uganda is a Christian country and has done a lot for the Christian communities of neighbouring countries, admitting its persecuted members. Hungary highly appreciates this, and it was an important criterion in deciding where Budapest should launch such a major development programme”, the Minister explained.

Hungary has established a consular office in the capital, Kampala, thus creating a personal presence for the coordination of major development programmes. An agreement has been concluded on the fact that Hungary will be providing 20 scholarship places-a-year for Ugandan students to attend Hungarian higher education institutions, and accordingly once in possession of their diplomas they will be able to operate and maintain the agricultural, water management and security infrastructure being established in their home country. In addition, cooperation between universities is continuing within the food industry, in which the Saint Stephen University will be taking part from the Hungarian side.

Mr. Szijjártó also reported on the fact that a joint German-Hungarian water management development programme will also be launched in May in cooperation between the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the German Ministry of Development. Hungary is contributing 300 million forints (EUR 950,000) to this programme. Also in May, Hungary will be launching a programme in Uganda based on thermal spring water in view of the fact that, similarly to Hungary, Uganda is also rich in thermal springs.

DownloadPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

“If Europe assists the development, and the establishment of the stability of countries that are of key importance with relation to migration, then they will be able to retain their populations and people will not set out towards Europe”, Mr. Szijjártó declared. “Because the latter would be extremely detrimental to Europe”, he stated.

This is the first time a Hungarian Foreign Minister has every visited Uganda. Mr. Szijjártó was received by the country’s Vice President, Edward Ssekandi, following which he held talks with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, the Minister of Security, the head of the National Security Service, and local Catholic Church leaders.