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UN Chief António Guterres Arrives in Uganda Today

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres is due to arrive in Uganda on Wednesday afternoon for a two day visit.

Guterres’ maiden visit carries significant importance to Uganda which hosts more refugees on the African continent and will climax with a Solidarity Summit on Refugees slated to take place later this week on Friday a Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The summit, co-hosted by President Yoweri Museveni and the UN Chief follows bilateral discussions held between the two leaders on the sidelines of the 28th African Union meeting in Ethiopia early this year.

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Uganda currently hosts over 1.2 million refugees from neighbouring South Sudan, Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda among others and hopes to use the high level forum as a platform to mobilize financial support towards its humanitarian efforts.

Guterres will be accompanied by a delegation including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filipino Grandi as well as the Assistant UN Secretary General among others. While in Uganda, he and other delegates will be escorted by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda the Imvepi refugee camp in Arua, Northern Uganda on Thursday.

According to the officials at the UN offices in Uganda, the visit to the camp which hosts 174,396 refugees will enable the Secretary General better understand the realities on ground and the magnitude of the need that the Ugandan government is faced with.

Government says it requires about USD 8 million to meet the rapid growing demand of the refugees in the next four years. Of this humongous sum of money, 5.4bn will go towards the establishment of infrastructure such as roads, schools and health facilities while USD 3.6bn will go towards provision of food.

The UN chief is expected to deliver a statement during Friday’s landmark meeting and announce new funding mechanisms for refugee response plans and resilience initiatives. He will thereafter address a press conference on the outcomes of the discussions among other issues.

On World Refugee Day, commemorated on Tuesday, Gueterres who addressed a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York praised developing countries, particularly Uganda for not only providing protection to refugees but also allocating them land.

“Some 80 per cent of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries with “a dramatic impact” on their economy, society and security, he said, apportioning blame on developed countries for not doing enough to provide support for refugees or take them in despite heart breaking pleas for food, water and other basics.

Up to 500 delegates including Heads of State, representatives of UN agencies, NGOs, financial institutions and private sector will attend the summit.

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