Berlin - German Development Minister Dirk Niebel (FDP) left this morning on an official trip to Uganda and Rwanda. Both countries have made major progress in development terms in recent years, and have become engines of economic and political integration in the region around Africa's Great Lakes.
"Uganda and Rwanda are pursuing development strategies geared to promoting growth and private sector development. The success they have had proves that they were right to adopt these strategies. Germany has been supporting their political course with development cooperation projects that are designed to spread economic growth as broadly as possible. It is important that both countries observe human rights, in order to ensure that any development progress made is sustainable in the long term. I would also like to encourage both countries to continue playing a constructive role in safeguarding peace and security, and to push ahead with economic and political integration in the Great Lakes region," said Development Minister Niebel before his departure.
Tomorrow Minister Niebel will personally conclude the bilateral government negotiations with Uganda on development cooperation for the next three years. At the previous government negotiations, Germany committed 120 million euros to Uganda for projects in energy, water supply and sanitation, as well as sustainable economic development.
"We want to continue with development cooperation at the same level and with projects in these same priority areas. Because of the issue of corruption, I will propose to the Ugandan government that, in future, instead of providing budget support, we support a programme specifically aimed at improving the management of public finances. Furthermore, for Germany, it is important that human rights such as freedom of assembly and non-discrimination of minority groups are observed in Uganda. To ensure this, Germany's government is prepared to provide support to the National Planning Authority, Uganda's Human Rights Commission and its Equal Rights Commission," added Niebel.
Over the next few days, Development Minister Niebel will have meetings with Uganda's Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the chairman of the Human Rights Commission and the chairman of the National Audit Office. The main focus of the project visits will be cooperation with the private sector in the field of renewable energies.
Development Minister Niebel's delegation will include representatives of German medium-sized businesses such as Kirchner Solar Group and KSB, who will show how they are engaged successfully with the German government in various development cooperation activities. On Sunday, Dirk Niebel will travel on to Rwanda, where he will hold political talks and then visit German-Rwandan development projects, before departing late Monday evening.