Rugunda Roots for Sustainable Funding Options for Universities

Major players in the minerals sector across the continent this week convened in Kampala to discuss among other issues possible opportunities of value addition in the extractive industry.

The forum on Mineral Wealth comes at a time when the industry is grappling with falling prices, pilule downsizing of major exploration companies and an increase in export expenditure by 30 percent.

The Chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, store Mr. Elly Karuhanga said that more awareness about Uganda’s mineral sector as a potential mining hub is required.

Karuhanga however indicated that lack of a certified regional mining laboratory to test deposits remains a big challenge.

“The labs in Lubumbashi (DRC) and South Africa are very distant with high costs attached. The sector must also deal with incompetent human capacity, speculation in license acquisition and government delays,” said Karuhanga.

Dr. Zweli Mkhize, the Treasurer General of Africa National Congress (ANC) who gave the keynote described Uganda’s mining sector as a game changer and a good story for East Africa as a whole.

“Uganda has potential to be the next mining frontier and attract huge investment. There are high grade deposits than anywhere else,” he said.

Uganda is endowed with vast and diverse metallic and industrial minerals with commercial potential that include Gold, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Tin, Wolfram, Beryl, Bismuth, Colombite Tantalite, Chromites and Diamonds.


Other precious minerals include Limestone, Cobalt, Vermiculite, Phosphates, Asbestos, Clay, Diatomite, Feldspars, Granite Gneiss, Graphite, Gypsum, Kaolin, Kyanite, Marble, Mica, Rock Salt, Silica Sand, and Talc.

Only a few of these have been exploited commercially and at artisan levels.

In the past, Copper, Limestone, Tin, Wolfram and Iron Ore were export commodities for the country, but their production and sales declined as prices plummeted on the international market in the 1980s.

Dr. Mhkize stressed that African states must learn to cooperate and share lessons to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

He made reference to possible tensions as people become desperate to transform their lives and numerous policy changes that could scare the investors.

Uganda so far has 3 legal frameworks that relate to the mining sector; Mineral Policy (2001), the Mining Act (2003) and Mining Regulations (2004).

While this is the case, reliable and affordable power supply which is a key enabler for the industry remains a hindrance across the region.


While Uganda is endowed with diverse metallic deposits, industrial minerals and gems – most of these continue to be exported in raw form due to absence of a processing plant to add value to these minerals.

“There is need to establish a strong base for local investors and miners to steer the sustainability of the sector. Also, communities around extraction sites must benefit from the revenues generated,” added Dr. Mhkize.

The Minister in charge of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Peter Lokeris said processing of these minerals requires huge amounts of revenue, expertise and thus need for investment partners.

Mining is increasing its contribution to national treasury revenues.

For example, in 2009 and 2010, the sector contributed shs 97,616,446 (US$34,251.4) and shs126,189,619 (US$44,277.0) production value respectively, excluding license fees.

Much of this production value was contributed by Limestone (60%) and Cobalt (27%) with the remaining 13% being contributed by Pozollana, Kaolin, Wolfram, Tin, Vermiculite, Iron, Manganese, Gold and Coltan in decreasing order.

This trend is anticipated to change as Copper is brought back online and production of these minerals increases.

Experts believe the anticipated social, economic, environmental and political impacts of these emerging minerals are likely to change.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has commended the role of private and public universities in fostering quality higher education in Uganda, here Chimp Corps report.

The PM said this has not come without challenges especially funding and hailed stakeholders such as parents, NGOs, faith based organizations, foundations and philanthropists for their efforts.

The Premier made these remarks while addressing the 5th Uganda Vice Chancellors’ Forum Conference held at Imperial Royale Hotel on Friday.

The forum which attracted vice chancellors from universities across Uganda was themed on funding of Universities.

“These channels of funding must be recognized and consolidated because they have for the last 90 years contributed substantially in meeting the cost of higher education,” he said.

He stressed that government also has a key funding role which he said has been realized through; scholarships, teachers’ salaries, development costs and support to private universities.

Dr. Rugunda urged Universities to come up with more innovative methods to meet the growing need for funding.

“I salute our public universities for introducing evening programs to increase enrolment and resultant earnings. However, more must be explored to sustainably finance our rapidly expanding university and research.”

He said universities should become more transparent in accounting for all finances raised.

The enrollment of students at universities has grown from 250 in 1950 to 180,360 in 2014, according to the ESTSSS Report 2014/15.

Despite the rapid growth of these numbers, slots for government sponsorship in public universities have remained at a constant of 4,000 for 30 years.

The Prime Minister poses with the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Urban Andersson and other participants at Imperial Royale Hotel (Photos: Paul Ampurire/CR)
The Prime Minister poses with the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Urban Andersson and other participants at Imperial Royale Hotel (Photos: Paul Ampurire/CR)

The Swedish Ambassador to Uganda Urban Andersson highlighted the importance of government funding in higher education to enhance research and knowledge capacity.

He went on to observe that funding of higher education is an issue of national development which must be steered.


Sweden has supported research in the 4 public universities with an investment of USD 60M into graduate training and scientific development.

“There’s no single model that solves the existing funding challenge. In 2013, 80 percent of Makerere University research was funded by foreign aid which leaves the issue of sustainability at stake,” he said.

During the forum, officials discussed the need to increase the student loans which currently cater for only 2,477 students with strict conditionality of science courses.

Participants also deliberated on the adoption of E-learning as a relatively cost effective model of high education, suggesting that government invests in infrastructure development especially in upcountry areas.

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