The First Uganda Diaspora Infrastructure Development workshop held In Dallas/Hurst, Texas.

Posted July 10, 2012 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Business ~ 21,482 views


The Hurst Convention Center in Hurst, [a city within the Dallas Fort Worth-DFW metroplex] Texas was the venue of the first Ugandan Diaspora Infrastructure Development workshop sponsored by the world bank in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign affairs on June 9th 2012. The successful workshop saw a delegation led by Mr. Ben Kumumanya the Under Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs present some great opportunities for all Ugandans living in the Diaspora to participate in the development of our road, rail and oil sectors. The guest of honor at the one day seminar was H.E Perezi Kamunanwire Uganda’s Ambassador to Washington.

H.E Perezi Kamunanwire – Uganda’s Ambassador to the United States of America

Also present was Uganda’s honorary Consul to the State of Texas Engineer. David Mureeba, the Head of the Diaspora Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Bati Kawooya who in her remarks to the audience reiterated the value the Government attaches to the Ugandan Diaspora, their remittances, the professionals skills they bring as some of the major reasons Diaspora Services Department [DSD] was established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also in attendance was the Uganda community in Dallas and some friends of Uganda from the US, Kenya and Nigeria.

Ms. Bati Kawooya, Head of the Diaspora Unit – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The program that kicked off at about 10:30am started with some welcome remarks from the President of the Ugandan Community in the greater Dallas – Fort Worth [DFW] area Mr. Monday Atigo who expressed his gratitude at the selection of Dallas for such a workshop.  Soon after it was the Under Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who shared the government vision of engaging the Diaspora as a way foster  national development.

Engineer Charles Kateeba – Uganda Railways Corporation

Although the workshop was off to a slow start due to late arrivals first presentation came from Mr. Charles Kateeba, the Chief Mechanical Engineer at the Uganda Railways Corporation [URC] who shared the future expansion and investment plans of the URC following the concessions with Rift Valley Railways [RVR]. He indicated that cost upgrades on Malaba- Kampala, Kampala-Kasese, Tororo-Packwach, Tororo-Gulu-Juba have been done with new routes to the DRC, Rwanda and Southern Sudan under review. He concluded his presentation by indication that opportunities do exist for the Diaspora to consult, contract and also pursue direct employment. The develop of the railway infrastructure network would provide new alternatives to transport goods in a more reliable and cost effective way across borders.

Engineer Charles Kizito, Uganda National Roads Authority

Second on the podium was Mr. Charles Kizito, a senior Engineer at the Uganda National Roads Authority [UNRA] who presented a brief background on the state of Uganda’s roads and planned expansion in the road sector. He shared the government planned 5 year road sector development program. As part of UNRA’s goal the Road sector development programme seeks to establish a rubust administration for effective and efficient management of the national roads network.  Engineer Kizito also disclosed that Uganda’s roads are largely unpaved [8000 km gravel and 10,000 km Earth while only 3000km is paved of this only 25% is said to be in good condition.] He also indicated that US$ 1.7 billion dollars has been committed to ongoing road and bridge development and maintenance with government funding accounting for 38% and 62% donor funded.  The New Nile bridge on the Kampala – Jinja highway and Kampala – Entebbe planned express way project are in the works to help relieve the severe traffic congestion and accidents on Uganda’s roads .

He also addressed expansion of the Northern by-pass and the creation of dual carriage ways and the construction of a proper drainage system as a way to help modernise and maintain the road network in Uganda. Other challenges presented by Engineer Kizito included the need to control Axle loading as a way to reduce damage on our roads as a result of overloading.  However as he concluded the Engineer was quick to point out the opportunities available to the Diaspora in areas of Contract Preparation and Management, Road and Bridge Engineering, research and adoption of appropriate sustainable technologies as a way to improve on the road sector development in Uganda.

Fred Kabanda, Principal Geologist – Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development

The final speaker among the technocrats invited to engage the Diaspora was Mr. Fred Kabanda Principal Geologist Petroleum Exploration and Production Department at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development in Uganda. Mr. Kabanda started off his presentation by giving a brief background about the Oil exploration in Uganda. He then went on to share the basins were oil was discovered within the Albertine rift region and the potential areas under investigation. To date 68 Oil and appraisal wells have been drilled and 61 of these have so far been successful. It has also been established that 2.5 Billion barrels of Oil exist within this region. There 4 licenced operators Tullow Oil, CNOOC, Dominion Petroleum and Total. Total cumulative direct investment in Uganda’s Oil sector has been $1.3 billion dollars by the end of 2011.

Mr. Kabanda also made a detailed presentation on Uganda’s Oil and Gas policy whose goal is to eradicate poverty and create a lasting value to society. These objectives are also outlined on their website [] He also touched on the issue of a planned Regional Oil Refinery Development plan to help address the Oil needs in the region given the current consumption of 164,000 barrels of Oil a day and the East Africa Refinery in Mombasa only able to operate 35,000 barrels out of its 70,000 barrel capacity per day. He touched on the quality of Uganda’s light crude and the sulfur content in our oil compared to that from other regions. In conclusion Mr. Kabanda indicated the opportunities do exist for the Diaspora to invest in the Construction of the Oil refinery, pipelines transport the crude, construction of storage facilities to transport the crude oil and petroleum products, Waste management facilities to handle the waste and the provision of services to would communities and contractors working in this sector.

Mr. Ben Kumumanya, Under Secretary – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

At the conclusion of the one day workshop that included a sumptuous meal, a Q&A session, a discussion on the way forward and an opportunity to network, the Under Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ben Kumumanya observed that this was one of the many planned workshops across the globe aimed at engaging the Diaspora and its professional force in the Development of Uganda. He also observed that the concerns of the Ugandan community had also been noted in involving the Uganda Investment Authority, the business sector especially real estate developers in future workshops. The workshop organised by Mr. Ronnie Mayanja with the assistance of some members from the Dallas community was a huge success inspite of some resistance from a section of the diaspora community. This workshop was a follow up to the Diaspora Infrastructure Development workshop held in London, UK in 2010. A special thank you to Mr. Monday Atigo and Mr. Joseph Kamugisha for the community mobilization effort! The UNAA President Mr. Francis Senoga for the show of support and to Radio Uganda Boston, Mr. Timothy Kiwala and Mr. Solomon Jagwe for the design and visualization online.

Some of the delegates at the Dallas workshop during the lunch buffet

More details about the Diaspora Services Department can be obtained at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website [] Ugandan Diaspora News team was in Dallas and now brings you some of the highlights in pictures at the Hurst Convention Center.

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


    Daniel Tumwesigye

    I would like to link up with the community here in Texas

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