The Japanese government has contributed Shillings 135.6billion (3.821 billion Japanese yen) for the construction of 23.6Km Yumbe-Manibe road in Yumbe District. It’s part of the contribution by the Japanese government towards “The project for the Implementation of the National Road in Refugee Hosting Areas of West Nile Sub Region.”
Speaking at the signing of the exchange notes with Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija, the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Hidemoto Fakuzawa, said that he believes that strengthening the road network would boost logistics movements and revive social and economic activities in the refugee host communities. Apparently, Yumbe-Manibe road is in sorry state, which hampers the smooth transportation of goods and people.
According to the agreement, labour-based technology will be used to construct the road purposely to build skills and create employment opportunities for the refugees. Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is expected to implement the project within four and a half years inclusive of the design, tendering process and construction works. Uganda is currently home to 1.4 million refugees.
57 percent of these live in the Northern Region since the majority of the refugees come from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC. However, most refugee settlements are in rural and remote locations that increase the challenges for local economic development and pose significant development challenges to both refugees and host communities.
The Government has prioritized interventions that create economic opportunities that benefit both the refugees and host communities as a means of enhancing self-reliance and easing pressure on existing public service delivery and infrastructure. About 54 percent of refugees still depend on humanitarian assistance as their main source of livelihood.
The Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija says Yumbe-Manibe road provides access to a number of refugee settlements including Imvepi, BidiBidi, Lobule and Palorinya settlements. He says it is also the main national road connecting to BidiBidi refugee settlement, which is one of the biggest settlements of displaced persons in the world.