What Is In For Local Logistics Companies After China Promising To Finance Uganda Pipeline Dream?

By Moses Muhairwe

Recently, the government of Uganda announced that Chinese lenders will provide 50% of the US$3 billion debt that Uganda requires to build the East Africa Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP).

According to Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, talks are in the final stages with China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) and the Export-Import Bank of China- (Eximbank) to finance the construction of the EACOP after some Western lenders backed out due to environmental concerns.

These developments mark yet another significant milestone and will soon pave way for construction of the EACOP that will see a flurry of activity for logistics firms in Uganda eager to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this project.

Logistics firms need to prepare by registering on the national supplier database, invest heavily in strong information technology systems to monitor goods in transit as well as build capacity and strategic partnerships.

While the main logistics contractor services will be undertaken by an association of Bolloré Logistics entities in Europe, Uganda and Tanzania, these operations are meant to maximize opportunities for local Ugandan companies as well through subcontracting, employment and ensuring meaningful local content and participation.

It is important to note that the main logistics contract scope includes end-to-end receiving, storage, handling, and transportation of hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of cargo, including over 80,000 joints of 18-meter line-pipe, numerous heavy-lift operations from global origin locations to the main project discharge points in Tanzania and Uganda, as well as the provision of specially designed 18-meter trailers to deliver the line-pipe to numerous locations.

Micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the 10 EACOP districts recently signed an MOU with large and medium contractors that will be working on the EACOP aimed at boosting business linkages and partnerships.

On April 18, 2023, the first batch of pipes for the Kingfisher Feederline EPC4 project undertaken by DOCG arrived at the construction site smoothly, providing the necessary conditions for on-site welding.

This is under a project implemented by Petroleum Authority (PAU) supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) .The AfDB and government signed a US$500,000 grant agreement to finance the capacity building of MSMEs to boost business linkages along the EACOP. 

EACOP remains a key project in Uganda's midstream section of the petroleum value chain. The 1,440-kilometre, 216,000-bopd capacity pipeline will export crude oil from Kabaale in western Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania where the crude oil will be exported worldwide by ocean-going tankers.

According to PAU, EACOP Ltd was granted a licence to construct the pipeline in January. Early civil works, which consist of vegetation clearing and land grading are underway on the EACOP main camps and pipe yards.

Land acquisition for EACOP, resettlement and compensation processes is currently at 80% completion with PAU monitoring these activities to ensure that the processes are fair and transparent.

The drilling of production wells for the Kingfisher and Tilenga oil production projects has also been ongoing since January 2023. The PAU says that drilling of the first well for the Kingfisher field has been completed to a total depth of about 3000 meters, and the LR8001 rig is now at the location for the second well. 

For the Tilenga project, three rigs have been designated for the drilling operations. The rigs have noise suppressing technology, are fully automated and environmentally friendly.

Uganda's plan to construct a crude oil pipeline in the net zero era remains an uphill task due to ongoing protests from environmentalists against the pipeline as well as the pressing environmental issues that demand attention.

These have resulted into withdrawal of some Western investors and funders that are keen  on environment and social governance principles thus delays in construction plans.

Moses Muhairwe is the Managing Director of Vision Logistics (U) LTD

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Website: www.visionlogisticslimited.com.

Africa Climate Summit: Will This Foster A Just Energy Transition In Africa?

By Patrick Edema

Between September 4 to 6, 2021, the African and international leaders attended the African Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya where they deliberated on Africa’s unified position on the climate crisis ahead of COP28, the global climate talks, in December. They also developed the Nairobi Declaration for green growth, a blueprint for Africa’s green energy transition.

The Africa Climate Summit is the largest gathering of African Heads of State, Ministers, UN agencies, humanitarian and development partners, the private sector and youth in the continent’s history. It represents an unprecedented opportunity to address the increasing impacts of climate change on human mobility in Africa. 

As you may know, not all countries are equally responsible for the climate crisis. African countries are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, experiencing the dire impacts of the climate crisis including drought, flooding, extreme weather temperatures, rising sea levels. In 2022, more than 7.5 million internal disaster displacements were registered on the African continent (IDMC, Global Report on Internal Displacement, 2023). 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) indicates that nine out of the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change are in sub-Saharan Africa. These events are costing countries $7 to $15 billion a year and, unchecked, the AfDB warns these costs could soar to $50 billion annually by 2030.

The research commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) also estimates the cost of adaptation to be about $50 billion by 2050 if the global temperature increase is kept within 2 degrees. The high dependence of the continent on rain-fed agriculture compounds these vulnerabilities.

Worse to note, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), also reports that more than 30 gigatonnes of CO2 are released into the Earth's atmosphere every year and this is the main source of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, and most of these gases come from the use of fossil fuels, non-renewable energy production and polluting human activities.

The top ten polluters include China - 10,065 million tonnes of CO2, the United States - 5,416 million tonnes, India - 2,654 million tonnes, Russia - 1,711 million tonnes, Japan - 1,162 million tonnes, Germany - 759 million tonnes, Iran - 720 million tonnes, South Korea - 659 million tonnes, Saudi Arabia - 621 million tonnes and Indonesia - 615 million tonnes of CO2, while Africa, an entire continent, accounts for only four (4) per cent of global carbon emissions, despite being the continent suffering the most devastating effects of the climate crisis.  

That is why, according to the 1992 Rio Declaration, now known as the polluter pays principle, those who cause pollution should bear the costs of dealing with it to prevent damage to human health or the environment, as the world agreed that the biggest polluters must take action to reduce their carbon emissions, but also to offset their carbon footprints by supporting environmental projects around the world.

Despite such declarations, the catastrophic effects of climate change in Africa are not only wreaking havoc on local communities, but are becoming a major obstacle to achieving the just energy transition. Urgent action to combat this threat is no longer a matter of choice but of existential necessity.

It is true that the world is gradually waking up to the climate emergency where major oil and gas companies from Europe and North America are increasingly losing their license to operate there however, they are turning to Africa to try and secure at least a few more years of extraction and profit. Yet decades of fossil fuel development in Africa have failed to bring prosperity and reduce energy poverty. African countries whose economies rely on the production and export of fossil fuels are suffering slower rates of growth, sometimes up to three times slower than those with more diverse economies.

For instance, in Mozambique, where foreign companies have built a $20bn offshore natural gas field and onshore liquefied natural gas facility, 70 percent of the country still lives without access to electricity. The gas is not for local people. Fossil fuels development has often had terrible consequences for the communities exposed to it.

In Cabo Delgado, the area around the gas fields of Mozambique, for example, the industry destroyed the lives and livelihoods of the locals but delivered few of the promised jobs and compensation. In Nigeria, Uganda, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the arrival of oil brought poverty, human rights abuses, and the loss of traditional lands and cultures.

The investments in fossil fuels are not investments for the people. The gas prices are inherently volatile, as the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are currently demonstrating. In many African countries, where costly fossil fuel projects already demonstrated they can do little to alleviate debt burdens and new fossil fuel investments will only serve to pile more debt on existing debt.

The renewable energy presents an unequivocally better alternative to all this. Electricity from solar and wind is now largely cheaper than electricity form gas and prices don’t experience dangerous fluctuations.

Therefore, if African countries are to stand a chance to achieve the just clean energy transition, there must be an increase in investment in renewable energy and climate action and this requires strong political commitment to increase the pace of implementation as opposed to prioritizing fossil fuels.

Patrick Edema is the Environmental Engineer and Programmes Coordinator at AFIEGO


Address Agricultural Sector Challenges To Benefit Ugandan Farmers

By Olive Atuhaire

Uganda’s agricultural potential is considered to be among the best in Africa with low temperature variability, fertile soils, and two rainy seasons over much of the country leading to multiple crop harvests per year.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Uganda’s fertile agricultural land has the potential to feed 200 million people.  Eighty percent of Uganda’s land is arable but only 35% is being cultivated. In 2021/22, agriculture accounted for about 24.1% of GDP and 33% of export earnings.

The UBOS estimates that about 70% of Uganda’s working population is employed in agriculture.  Uganda produces a wide range of agricultural products including: coffee, tea, sugar, livestock, fish, edible oils, cotton, tobacco, plantains, corn, beans, cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, and groundnuts

However much Uganda is being the best among the African countries regarding agricultural sector, it is noted that the commercialization of the sector is impeded by a lot of challenges faced by the farmers. 

Some of these are limited use of fertilizer, lack of quality seeds, sub-standard agrochemical inputs, limited access to finance caused by high-interest rates, expensive farming equipment, poor farming practices and lack of irrigation infrastructure rendering production vulnerable to climatic extremes and pest infestations.   

According to Integrated Seed Sector Development Uganda, it is estimated that less than 15% of Ugandan farmers use quality, mainly hybrid seed. This stems from inadequate access to quality seeds of farmers; preferred crop varieties, high price of seed, unsupportive policies and inadequate knowledge of available varieties.

As the climate change crisis worsens and as commercial interests continue to take hold, Uganda stands to lose its indigenous seeds and plants which are bad for both farmers and consumers of farm produce.

Various reports have indicated that to fatten their animals or prolong the shelf life of their farm produce, farmers and traders use chemical substances such as Anti-Retroviral drugs to feed pigs and formalin to preserve meat.

Moreover, some of the pesticides such as Mancozeb that are used by tomato farmers are retained in the produce that farmers send to the market. Indeed, an analysis by Emmanuel Kaye showed that market samples had 0.77+0.49mg/kg of Mancozeb. This puts tomato consumers at risk of abnormal thyroid function, cancer and other diseases.

With a survey done by Anti-Counterfeit Network covering Mbale and Sironko in March 2022, it shows that 50% of the seeds and agro-inputs on the market were fake. A 2017 World Bank assessment also showed that 30% of herbicides across Uganda contain less than 75% of the active ingredient that is advertised.

Fake agrochemicals result in the exploitation of farmers and poor productivity. The use of agro-chemicals also presents challenges for the consumers of the farm produce and environmental conservation efforts.

Available information indicates that only 23% of farmers in Uganda have the recommended training in pesticide use including pesticide application techniques, storage and safety measures. The misuse of agrochemicals affects soil biodiversity and causes human health problems.

Uganda’s agricultural sector is dominated by small holder farmers many of whom find it hard to access credit from financial institutions. This is because the banks charge high interest rates among other factors. Indeed, in 2018, banks’ lending to the agricultural sector, which employs the majority of Ugandans, was only 12.2%. 

Uganda’s interest rates that are charged by Ugandan banks are some of the highest in Africa. In February 2023 for instance, the commercial bank lending rate was 20.24%, according to Bank of Uganda. Expensive farming equipment is also a challenge.

The government has been encouraging farmers to mechanize their agricultural practices to increase efficiency, enhance productivity and attract labor especially the youth among others. However, available information indicates that despite various governments mechanization programmes, 70% of Ugandans employed in the agricultural sector cannot afford machinery.

Framing equipment is priced out of farmers’ range. Moreover, through NAADS among other partners, the government of Uganda procured some agricultural equipment and supplied them to farmers however some of the equipment supplied got mechanical issues and broke down. This equipment such as tractors could not be repaired due to lack of spare parts. Some equipment that is imported in Uganda is also incompatible.

Therefore, I call upon the government to invest more in agricultural sector and address these challenges affecting the sector from realizing its potential such as over-pricing of agricultural inputs, sub-standard agricultural inputs, high interest rates that undermine access to credit for farmers, widespread use of harmful herbicides as well as pesticides and among others so as to make agriculture benefit all Ugandans especially farmers by increasing agricultural productivity.

The government should sensitize farmers on the dangers of poor pesticide and other chemicals’ use and empower citizens and the Ugandan police to arrest farmers and traders who use harmful chemicals to preserve farm produce and ensure all butchers have testing gadgets to ensure that meat sold is not contaminated and qualifies for human consumption. Agro ecology as one of the farming systems which brings healthy and quality food for consumption and market must be recognized.

Olive Atuhaire is a resident in Kampala

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Unveiling Gendered Realities: The Disproportionate Impacts Of Climate Change On Women

By Ruth Kyarisiima

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time, affecting communities and ecosystems worldwide. However, beneath the surface of global warming, far-reaching consequences lay a stark reality: the impacts of climate change are not gender-neutral. Women, especially those in vulnerable communities, are disproportionately affected by the changing climate. It is imperative to recognize and address these gendered implications to ensure a just and equitable response to the climate crisis.

In many developing countries like Uganda, women play a significant role in agriculture, subsistence farming, and fishing. The unpredictable weather patterns brought about by climate change, including droughts, floods, and storms disrupt these activities. Women often have limited access to resources such as land, technology, and financial services, which makes it challenging to adapt to these changing conditions. The resulting loss of livelihoods exacerbates poverty and food insecurity, disproportionately affecting women and their families.

Furthermore, climate change intensifies water scarcity, with women bearing the brunt of its consequences women and girls are typically responsible for water collection in many African societies, spending hours each day fetching water for household needs. As water sources become scarcer due to droughts and changing precipitation patterns, the burden on women increases, further limiting their opportunities for education and economic participation. additionally, inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities disproportionally affects women's health and hygiene.

During climate-related disasters, women's vulnerability is heightened. Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with caregiving responsibilities often face difficulties in accessing healthcare and evacuation resources. In post-disaster scenarios, women also face of increased risks of gender-based violence and exploitation. Displaced populations often experience crowded and insecure living conditions, amplifying these risks.

Climate change impacts can hinder girls' education, perpetuating inequalities. Girls may be tasked with additional responsibilities, such as water collection and household chores, reducing their time for school. Climate-related events, such as floods and storms, can damage schools and disrupt educational routines. With limited education and fewer opportunities, women have reduced economic independence and are less able to engage in decision-making processes at community and national levels.

While women are often depicted as victims of climate change, they are also key agents of resilience. Women possess valuable traditional knowledge and adaptive strategies that can contribute to community resilience in the face of climate-related challenges. Incorporating women's perspectives and expertise into climate adaptation and mitigation strategies is essential for effective and sustainable responses.

Addressing the gendered impacts of climate change requires a multifaceted approach. Governments, organizations, and communities must work together to promote women's participation in decision-making processes related to climate action. This includes providing women with access to education, resources and technology, as well as ensuring their voices are heard in policy discussions. Supporting women-led initiatives, such as sustainable farming practices and climate-resilient entrepreneurship, can enhance women's agency and economic stability. 

The gendered impacts of climate change are a sobering reminder of the interconnectedness of environmental and social issues. As we strive for a more sustainable and equitable future, is imperative to recognize that climate change disproportionately affects women, particularly those in vulnerable communities. By centring on women's experiences, empowering their voices, and addressing their unique challenges, we can build a more just and resilient world that confronts climate crisis with determination.

Ruth Kyarisiima is the Programs Assistant at Strategic Response on Environmental Conservation (STREC)

Delayed OPEC Cuts Mean Opportunity for African Members

By NJ Ayuk

Quota-related decisions made at OPEC's 35th meeting last June in Vienna delivered a call to action for African member states to step up production through the remainder of the year and into 2024.

Many of OPEC's African member states had been struggling to produce enough crude to meet the targets set for them last year. As a result, they found themselves accepting even lower quotas this year.

Decisions regarding production cuts for African members Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria are summarized in the African Energy Chamber's (AEC) newly released outlook report, "The State of African Energy Q2 2023."

Our report also notes easing of the civil unrest that resulted in the exclusion of member state Libya from OPEC cuts for the time being.

OPEC's meeting, which included OPEC+ oil-exporting countries as well, resulted in a Declaration of Cooperation that delays further cuts to production targets until 2024 and continues voluntary cuts by nine member states until the end of 2023. Algeria and Gabon are the two African members among those volunteers.

The 2024 Targets and Expected African Production

OPEC's signed declaration calls for a significantly lower cumulative production target for African member states: about 4.33 million barrels per day (MMbbls/d) of crude oil.

A look at the targets of OPEC's two leading African oil producers — Nigeria and Angola — shows considerable reductions from the 2023 quotas set at the 33rd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting (ONOMM). Nigeria's 2024 target, 1.38 (MMbbls/d), represents a reduction of 360,000 barrels per day (bpd), and Angola's quota went down by 175,000 bpd to 1.28 MMbbls/d.

Despite these reduced quotas, it is not anticipated that either country will reach theirs in 2024; Nigeria is expected to hit 95% of its target, Angola 75%. Nigeria, although estimated to be capable of producing 2.2 MMbbls/d, has faced challenges such as oil theft, sabotage, and technical issues.

Angola, despite increased oil and gas activity in 2023, has still strained in recent months to produce more than 1.1 MMbbls/d, far short of its current 1.46 MMbbls/d target from OPEC.

Congo is also expected to fall short of its production target, at about 10% less than allowed, while Equatorial Guinea and Gabon will likely produce slightly over their target numbers of 70,000 bpd and 177,000 bpd respectively, avoiding compliance as in the past. Of the members in sub-Saharan Africa, only Gabon has achieved its target this year.

Algeria in the north is another high achiever, with production capacity that exceeds its 2024 OPEC target of 959,000 bpd. It has agreed to cut output by 96,000 bpd to comply.

Meanwhile, its next-door neighbor, Libya, achieved an average of 1.26 MMbbls/d for 2023 after recovering from drastic production outages during 2022 civil disturbances. OPEC cuts for 2024 have not been set for Libya, allowing the country to use oil reserves to assist with reconstruction efforts.

Crude production in several African nations has been stymied by lack of adequate investment, political unrest, and technical issues associated with older wells.

Following an assessment of the Declaration of Cooperation by IHS, Wood Mackenzie, and Rystad Energy, the 2024 targets for Nigeria and Congo may be revised based on their anticipated levels of production.

Strategies for a Better-Than-Expected 2024 and Beyond

The delayed OPEC production cuts clearly showcase an urgent need for African countries to up their current production numbers and prove that higher quotas are warranted, which would also increase African negotiating sway at future meetings.

The possibility of target modification "to equal the average production that can be achieved in 2024," particularly for Congo and Nigeria, was raised in a June OPEC announcement that followed the meeting. Angola was also mentioned as having production plans "subject to verification...before the end of 2024."

Acknowledging both the opportunity and the urgency, the head of geopolitics for London-based research firm Energy Aspects, Richard Bronze, stated that the deal "certainly creates an incentive for these three countries (Angola, Congo, and Nigeria) to try and demonstrate they can raise production before year-end, but we think they are unlikely to be able to manage it."

The time is now for African OPEC members to prove that they can achieve the higher output capability that warrants higher baselines.

The calls for government action that I and the AEC have stressed in recent years are more urgent than ever: African governments need to create the kind of positive, enabling climate that will encourage greater exploration and production. Good financial policies will help in that effort, as will ethical, transparent, and efficient governance.

Prioritizing speedy adoption and execution of measures to achieve these goals will bring what is most needed to boost African production numbers — increased interest from international oil companies and investors.

A united effort to awaken more investor interest in African oil should start now, as should cooperation among African members to present a more unified voice when the 36th OPEC meeting is held in November, 2023.

The OPEC - Africa Roundtable at the African Energy Week in Cape Town, will ensure Africa specific issues are addressed and as well as global energy security issues.

As S&P Global noted, this strategy would be "taking a page from their Middle East counterparts, who typically align their positions before contentious negotiations through pre-meeting consultations."

I encourage Africa's member nations to do what it takes to increase investment, production, and their influence at the OPEC table. You are stronger together.

NJ Ayuk is the Executive Chairman of African Energy Chamber


Threat Of Deforestation: Hoima Sugar's Impact On Food Security And Local Communities

By Mpagi Jackson

Deforestation is an alarming global issue with far-reaching consequences, and the activities of companies like Hoima Sugar have the potential to exacerbate this crisis. In the case of Bugoma Forest, the repercussions of deforestation are not limited to the environment alone but extend to food security, livelihoods, and the well-being of local communities. In this article, we will delve into the various ways in which Hoima Sugar's activities are endangering the delicate balance of Bugoma Forest and the people who depend on it.

Bugoma Forest, a lush and biodiverse treasure located in Uganda, has long been a source of sustenance for forest dwellers and neighboring communities. The deforestation linked to Hoima Sugar poses a grave threat to food security and sovereignty. The forest has provided an array of essential resources, including mushrooms, honey, wild coffee, yams, and a variety of vegetables and fruits. These natural bounties have been integral to the diets and livelihoods of those who reside in the vicinity. However, as Hoima Sugar's activities continue, these resources are becoming increasingly scarce.

One of the most concerning aspects of this deforestation is the potential depletion of these vital forest goods. Mushrooms, for instance, are a significant source of nutrition and income for many families. Honey, often harvested sustainably from the forest, not only serves as a food source but also as a source of income. The wild coffee, yams, and various vegetables and fruits contribute not only to the local diet but also to the income generation of forest-dependent communities. The loss of these resources threatens the food security of these communities and undermines their ability to control their own food sources.

Beyond the immediate impact on food security, Bugoma Forest also provides other valuable resources that sustain the livelihoods and health of local communities. Rattan canes, found abundantly in the forest, are essential for making furniture and handicrafts. These products are not only a source of income but also a representation of the cultural heritage of these communities. Additionally, medicinal plants found in the forest play a crucial role in traditional healthcare practices, ensuring the well-being of the inhabitants. The destruction of the forest disrupts the delicate balance of these communities' lives, threatening their livelihoods and health.

Furthermore, deforestation activities bring with them an influx of migrant workers to Hoima Sugar's project site. This influx places added stress on the already dwindling forest resources, exacerbating the problem of resource depletion. An alarming consequence of this increased demand for resources is the shortage of fuelwood. Cooking is a daily necessity for every household, and for many, fuelwood remains the primary source of energy. The shortage of fuelwood places immense pressure not only on Bugoma Central Forest Reserve but also on the local communities that have historically resided in the area.

Women and girls, in particular, bear the brunt of this fuelwood shortage. Traditionally responsible for collecting fuelwood for cooking, they must now travel longer distances and expend more effort to gather the increasingly scarce resource. This added burden has significant implications for their daily lives, including reduced opportunities for education and employment. It perpetuates gender inequality and reinforces the cycle of poverty that many in these communities are already trapped in.

In conclusion, the activities of Hoima Sugar in Bugoma Forest are not isolated incidents of deforestation. They have far-reaching consequences that affect food security, sovereignty, livelihoods, and gender dynamics among forest dwellers and adjacent communities. The depletion of vital forest goods, such as mushrooms, honey, wild coffee, yams, and medicinal plants, disrupts the traditional way of life and threatens the well-being of these communities. Additionally, the influx of migrant workers and the resulting fuelwood shortage further exacerbate the challenges faced by local communities, especially women and girls.

To address these issues effectively, a holistic approach is needed, one that considers the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of the problem. It is essential that we prioritize the preservation of Bugoma Forest and support sustainable alternatives for both livelihoods and energy sources. Only through collective efforts can we hope to protect this invaluable ecosystem and the communities that depend on it for their survival.

 Mpagi Jackson is a resident of Nyerongo  


Bugoma Forest Destruction: A Devastating Loss for Bunyoro's Herbal Medicine Heritage

By Ruth Kyarisiima

Bugoma Forest, located in the heart of Uganda, has long been a sanctuary for biodiversity and a treasure trove of herbal medicinal plants. However, the wanton destruction of this pristine ecosystem has not only dealt a severe blow to nature but has also robbed Bunyoro of its invaluable heritage of rare and essential trees used for herbal medicine. It is crucial to recognize that Bugoma Forest holds not only ecological significance but also cultural and medicinal importance.

One of the compelling arguments for preserving Bugoma Forest lies in its status as an ancestral area. Many former kings, including the revered Omukama Kabalega, played a pivotal role in planting and nurturing various herbal medicinal trees within the forest. Their intention was clear: to provide natural remedies for their subjects and ensure the well-being of their communities. In doing so, they created a legacy that has sustained the health and vitality of Bunyoro for generations.

Among the irreplaceable losses resulting from the destruction of Bugoma Forest is the Prunus Africana, locally known as Entaseesa. This tree is a vital resource in the treatment of various ailments, including prostate cancer. It has been used by traditional healers for centuries and is a critical component of Bunyoro's herbal medicine heritage. With the loss of Bugoma's pristine habitat, the survival of this important tree species is now at risk, and its medicinal properties may become scarcer.

Another significant casualty of the forest destruction is the Warburgia ugandensis tree, commonly referred to as Omusikambuzi. This tree plays a pivotal role in the production of Covidex, an herbal remedy that gained international attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Covidex, developed from traditional knowledge and practices, was hailed as a potential treatment for respiratory illnesses. The destruction of Bugoma Forest not only threatens the supply of Omusikambuzi but also endangers the rich cultural and medicinal practices associated with it.

Tamarind (Omukooge) is yet another tree that has called Bugoma Forest its home. The fruits of the tamarind tree are renowned for their medicinal properties, including their ability to help maintain healthy blood pressure and their antioxidant benefits. Losing access to this resource affects not only the traditional medicinal practices of Bunyoro but also the potential for scientific research and the development of new medicines.

The loss of Bugoma Forest is not merely about the quantity of these rare medicinal trees; it is also about the quality of the resources we have lost. Traditional herbal remedies often rely on a delicate balance of various plant species, and the destruction of Bugoma Forest disrupts this intricate ecosystem. The synergy between different plants in the forest contributes to the efficacy of these remedies, and the loss of any single species can have far-reaching consequences for both traditional medicine and potential scientific breakthroughs.

It is essential to view the destruction of Bugoma Forest as a loss that extends far beyond environmental degradation. While the devastating impact on biodiversity is undeniable, the depletion of our herbal medicine heritage is equally alarming. The ancestral connection to the forest, through the efforts of past kings like Omukama Kabalega, underscores its cultural significance as a source of healing and well-being for the Bunyoro people.

In conclusion, the destruction of Bugoma Forest is a tragedy that reverberates on multiple levels. Beyond its ecological significance, it represents a profound loss for Bunyoro's herbal medicine heritage, disrupting traditional healing practices and potentially hindering future scientific advancements in the field. To honor the legacy of past kings and safeguard the well-being of future generations, urgent action is needed to protect and restore this vital ecosystem. We must recognize the forest's intrinsic value as a source of both cultural and medicinal wealth and commit to preserving it for the benefit of all.

Ruth Kyarisiima is the Programs officer at Strategic Response on Environmental Conservation (STREC)

EACOP Worries Uganda's Climate Safe Future

By Okwi John Peter

In an era defined by growing environmental awareness and collective commitment to combat climate change, global infrastructure developments must align with the global pursuit of a climate-safe future. 

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) which aims to transport oil from Uganda to Tanzania has come under intense scrutiny for its potential impact on the environment and its compatibility with the urgent need to reduce greenhouse emissions. 

While Uganda, a country known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife and vibrant culture, has been making strides in the past years to develop a climate-safe future plan. 

However, the ongoing developments surrounding the East African crude oil Pipeline have raised significant worries about the nation’s commitment to environmental sustainability and ability to achieve its climate goals. 

According to the Uganda National Metrological reports (UNMA) 2019, the climate change country profile for Uganda shows a statistically significant decreasing trend in the annual rainfall with a temperature rise of 1.3 degrees delicious. The increasing temperatures have resulted in increased trends in the frequency of hot days and nights.

However, with the EACOP the climate crisis in Uganda stands to worsen as the full value chain emissions of the 25-year lifetime project is estimated to yield 377.6 million metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.

This includes construction phase 0.24Mt CO2, Operational emissions 6.55 MtCO2, refining stage 34.52 MtCO2 and Product use Emissions 330.71MtCO2. 

In this foreseen dangerous trajectory of Green House Emissions in the atmosphere, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) assessments still warns nations of the dire rise in global temperatures that will consequently descend on humanity’s health and livelihoods which may further spark situations like flash flooding due to rise in sea levels, heat waves, food insecurity unforeseen worse case scenarios of poverty and death amongst populations. 

An increase in temperature or changes in rainfall intensity, distribution, and patterns are likely to have a direct effect on ecosystem functions, services, and species distribution and survival throughout Uganda.

Projected climate change is likely to adversely affect the hydrological cycle of forested water catchments by weakening their capacity to maintain water cycles and recharge groundwater.

This impact is likely to lead to a significant shift in flora and fauna distribution, disturb the ecological balance between species, cause habitat degradation due to the increased prevalence of invasive species, and increase the occurrence of wildfires. As a result, the overall availability of ecosystem-specific goods and services that support human livelihoods is expected to be adversely affected.

In the wake of all this, Uganda has to rethink its path toward promoting inclusive climate-safe and low-emission developments as nationally committed in program 9 of NDP3 and National Climate Change Policy 2015.

It should as well honour Article 2.1(c) of the Paris Agreement which calls on parties to make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate-resilient developments.

Governments, corporations and export credit agencies giving insurance and guarantees to these atmospherically dirty fossil projects should reconsider their investment decision and prioritize investments that accelerate the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. 

It's only by making choices that prioritize both economic development and environmental protection can we hope to create a future that is truly climate-safe and sustainable for generations to come.

Okwi John Peter is the Programs Officer at Environment Governance Institute



Invest In Climate-Smart Energy Resources

By Rachael Amongin

SDG 7 obligates member states to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Uganda’s electricity consumption rate affects the country’s GDP and prosperity therefore affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy is essential for inclusive development, and electricity plays an important role.

Uganda has energy resources, but access to reliable electricity is a barrier to its development. The energy resources potentials include renewables such as hydropower, solar, wind and geothermal, but of late government’s attention is rather shifting to tapping into oil and gas development for domestic power generation soon yet this is disastrous to the environment and contributes to climate change.  

Furthermore, Uganda depends on hydropower for its electricity accounting for more than 80% of the country’s electricity supply, the other sources being thermal (8%), co-generation (8%) and solar (4%). However, the country’s sustainable energy transition is still being hindered by the government’s emphasis on large-scale hydroelectricity over other renewables, even when it is known that hydroelectricity is highly climate sensitive.

Uganda government’s preference for large hydro-power projects in areas of rich ecosystems and biodiversity, and eco-tourism sites is an environmental controversy, given the dependence on hydropower on natural systems (climate and water availability). These energy projects remain controversial given that Uganda is not lacking alternative renewable energy resources.

Therefore, as Uganda strives to attain a middle-income status country, building climate resilient and transiting to decarbonised energy systems is not only a necessity but transformational to reducing energy poverty, increasing access to clean and affordable energy services, spurring investment and economic growth, job creation, improved health and poverty reduction.

Rachael Amongin is a communications assistant at AFIEGO

How Uganda Investment Authority Stole Tirupati’s Land In Namanve

In 2008, Tirupati Development Limited applied for allocation of land from Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and the request was granted in 2011. In a later dated 26th June 2012, UIA gave Tirupati an invoice to pay the premium for the land. Tirupati paid the sum.

The land in question is located at Kyagwe Block 113 Plots No. A019 and A020 situated at Namanve - Kiwanga-Mawutu, Nantabulirwa, Goma Division, Mukono Municipality, Mukono district. It measures approximately 1.5 acres and 10 acres respectively.

Through letters dated 28th October 2010 and 5th January 2011, UIA authorized the Commissioner Land Registration to provide surveying services on behalf of Tirupati in respect of the two plots and the Tirupati paid land fees for the surveying to be conducted.

Also, through a letter dated 17th September 2022, UIA granted permission to Tirupati to take possession of the suit land by fencing and grading it which was done.

After taking possession of the suit land, Tirupati started the process of developing the land by conducting the survey works, obtaining NEMA clearance certificate, obtaining development and building plans which needed certificate of land title before being approved.

However, on several occasions, Tirupati demanded to be given a land tittle to start developing the land but UIA refused to date. Instead, UIA in a fraudulent manner started on a process to allocate the land Tirupati paid for to other parties. This forced Tirupati to go to court for redress.

Court proceeding

To seek redress, a case, Civil Suit No. 335 of 2021 in the high court of Uganda at Mukono, was registered with Tirupati Development (U) Limited as the Plaintiff and Uganda Investment Authority and the defendant. And on Friday, 21st July 2023, before Justice Florence Nakachwa, a ruling was been made with the plaintiff coming out victorious.

According to the ruling, the defendant neither filled its written statement of defence nor entered physical appearance in court despite effective service of court process.

In the case, Tirupati was represented by Counsel Pamba Egan of M/S Opwonya & Co. Advocates and later under Trust Law Advocates. Lawyers representing Tirupati filed the plaintiff's written submissions in court on 13th December 2022.

The case sought to address two issues; whether Uganda Investment Authority is in breach of the lease of agreement it executed with the Tirupati and whether there are remedies available for Tirupati, the plaintiff.

Leasehold is one of the land tenure systems in which land may be owned in Uganda as stipulated under Article 237 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 and Section 2 of the Land Act, Cap 227 as amended.

During the trial, the directors of Tirupati provided evidence proving that the lease transaction; including payment of Shs7, 000, 000 as fees to procure a NEMA Certificate. Justice Nakachwa reveals in the ruling that Tirupati also procured architectural plans for the intended project.

She explains that UIA was well aware of the proceeding developments of the suit land but refused to issue the land tittles to the plaintiff with the intentions of unlawfully and illegally taking away the plaintiff's land and allocate it to third parties.

Tirupati denied access on the suit land

A witness told court that since 2014, Tirupati was denied access to the suit land and that UIA instructed its agents not to allow the plaintiff access the land. Because of this, Tirupati's efforts to develop the land were futile and hindered.

The witness added that due to UIA's actions, Tirupati has lost business and money invested in the project and suffered huge inconveniences and income that would have been earned.

"In the present case, the evidence adduced especially the correspondences from the defendant to the plaintiff clearly shows that the lease agreement was concluded in or around 2011/2012 and the plaintiff was given a go ahead to develop the suit land," the ruling reads in part.

"The evidence on record further shows that the plaintiff requested for the land tittle in order to register its lease hold title but to-date it has not been handed over the defendant. This has frustrated its continuance to develop and use the suit land for its business or investment,"

"The defendant's refusal to handover the land tittle to the plaintiff to enable it have its name registered as the lease hold owner of the land and later withdrawing the plaintiff’s possession of the suit land, in essence means the defendant defaulted in fulfilling its obligation under the lease agreement to give vacant possession of the said land to the plaintiff as it was required. This failure has deprived the plaintiff of its leasehold ownership of the suit land and thus puttingn the plaintiff's activities on the suit land at a stand-still,"


UIA gives suit land to Creston Properties

The ruling by Justice Nakachwa indicates that court summoned the Commissioner Land Registration to give a proprietorship status of the suit land and on 23rd March 2023, Joshua Twagiramungu testified and submitted a letter dated 30th February 2023 from the Commissioner Land Registration clarifying the current status of the land.

According to the letter addressed to court, the suit land is now registered as Kyaggwe Block 113 Plots 3695, 3736 in the names of Creston Properties Limited. Furthermore, an initial lease agreement was signed between Uganda Investment Authority and Creston Properties Limited on 22/8/2014 and a 49 lease agreement signed on 26th June 2020.

On the 23rd day of March 2023, court visited the land and found that the suit land was being developed by Creston Properties Limited and the land was cordoned off using corrugated iron sheets. Old stumps with the names of the Tirupati could be seen.

"In my judgment, the defendant's actions clearly amounts to breach of contract to which the defendant must be held liable,"

"The plaintiff has proved to the satisfaction of the court that it validly entered into a lease agreement with the defendant which has been breached by the defendant.

The final ruling

After taking into account all the evidence and arguments presented, Justice Nakachwa ruled that, "In the instant case, the plaintiff being the successful party is entitled to the costs of the suit. Having found both issues in the plaintiff's favour, judgment is hereby entered for the plaintiff and I hold that the defendant is in breach of the lease agreement between it and the plaintiff,"

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