Tumwebaze: Regional Integration Key for Sustainable Independence

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Friday, pill October 3 approved loans amounting to US $98.22 million to finance the first phase of East Africa’s Centres of Excellence for Skills and Tertiary Education in Biomedical Sciences programme in Kenya, shop Rwanda, page Uganda and Tanzania.

The project aims to contribute to development of relevant and highly skilled workforce in biomedical sciences to meet East African Community (EAC) immediate labour market needs and support implementation of EAC’s ‘free’ labour market protocols.

Phase one of the project will support creation of a network of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) in biomedical sciences and engineering – nephrology and urology in Kenya, oncology in Uganda, cardiovascular in Tanzania and biomedical engineering and e-health in Rwanda.

To deliver quality and relevant skills development, research and service delivery, the CoEs will develop higher education programmes and collaborate with ‘world-class’ institutions in curriculum development, faculty exchange, mentoring, access to resource materials, and carry out joint thematic biomedical research and publish it.

The project is expected to enhance EAC’s competitiveness through a highly skilled workforce in biomedical sciences.

It will enable EAC increase its capacity and competitiveness through expanding higher education and specialised service delivery that are demanded by the rapid economic development in East Africa.

Among other benefits, the project, which has potential to create jobs for professionals and support services through medical tourism within the EAC as well as from other African regions, is aligned to the target countries’ strategies and development objectives for relevant skills development for the labour market.

It is also aligned to EAC regional strategies on human resources development and the Bank’s East Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (RISP) 2011-15. It is also in tune with Bank’s 2013-2022 Strategy core operational priorities, which include skills and technology and regional integration as well as special focus on gender and fragile states, among others.


In addition, the project is in line with the Bank’s Human Capital Strategy 2014-2018 regarding skills development for competitiveness and jobs. It is based on the strategy’s New Education Model of Africa (NEMA) which aims to address labour market needs-skills mismatch, adopt application of ICT, support research and regional integration through creation of regional Centers of Excellence.

The regional approach in addressing relevant skills development leverages economies of scale and contributes to deepening regional integration.

The second phase of the programme will include the establishment of a Center of Excellence in Burundi on Nutritional Sciences.

The project will directly benefit the estimated 150 million EAC citizens through affordable quality, and accredited biomedical skills and tertiary education institutions and services. The CoEs will create an opportunity for students from the EAC region, as well as Central Africa who are already training within the EAC, to access high quality postgraduate biomedical sciences education thus increasing their availability and employability in the regional labour market.

The CoEs targets 150 students on postgraduate programmes (140 masters, 10 PhD) in addition to 300 trainees for short courses in Phase 1.

The EAC private sector will also benefit from a qualified and accredited relevant skilled workforce instead of relying on foreign professionals. The project outcomes will also directly improve quality and affordability of service delivery for EAC citizens seeking kidney, heart and cancer services. At least 100,000 EAC citizens seek these services abroad each year.

The Bank’s financing represents 91.05 percent of the entire project cost estimated at US $107.81 million. The four governments will provide counter-funding to the tune of US $8.97 million.
The Minister for Presidency and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has urged Ugandans to join government in celebrating and marking the 52nd independence on the 9th Oct under the theme; Unity, there Peace, store Security and Regional Integration: Key Pillars for True and Sustainable Independence.

In his statement read by the government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo at the Media Centre in Kampala, the minister noted that Ugandans should always remember Uganda was granted independence from the jaws of colonial British leadership on the 9th Oct 1962.

“A nation’s independence is built on pillars, key among which are Unity, Peace, Security and now more than ever before Regional Integration. Any nation that ignores these key pillars is bound to fail in her efforts of attaining true and sustainable Independence. The early history of our post Independence Uganda is a living example,” reads the statement.

Regional Integration is essential for sustenance of our Independence. This is because we need a larger market for our products and besides the World has become a global village; no single country can survive on her own.

Regional Integration makes an Independent country internationally stronger, her economy more viable and her voice incomparably louder.

“As we celebrate the 52nd Independence Anniversary of our Nation, it is our sacred duty and responsibility to strengthen and consolidate Unity, Peace, Security and Regional Integration, key pillars for true and sustainable Independence, and development.

Celebrating the 52nd Anniversary of our national Independence is a befitting moment to reflect on the past consequences of our failure to nurture these key pillars during our Independence journey and the positive impact they are having on our country now that they were restored.

Lack of unity did not only hamper fast achievement of Independence but it has been a major contributing factor to Uganda’s political and security woes especially in the early infancy of our Independence.

“Even now, in spite of the many efforts by Ugandans (the leaders and the led), through formal sensitization programmes, liberalized school system and through non formal programmes like sports, games, music dance and drama etc, Unity among Ugandans is still rather illusive.”

The Guest of Honour will be President Yoweri Museveni who will be a accompanied by at least seven other heads of states and government the Northern Corridor member states after their summit in Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort on 8th October.

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