Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Uganda needs to team up with other countries under the East Africa Community, the Great Lakes Region and other African regions in the oil development process ahead of oil production slated for 2020 if it is to benefit from the resource, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Rosa Malango.
Malango, who spoke during the 4th oil and gas convention held in Kampala from April 25-26, said the co-operation will deliver several dividends in terms of joint exploration, collective infrastructure, shared costs, bigger market, comprehensive security programmes, research, skilled professionals and simultaneous transformation of the quality of life of inhabitants.
She said shared understanding in the sector could also contribute to efforts to develop a continental free trade zone.
She said care should be taken to ensure that exploitation of oil resources is done without compromising the quality and quantity of other renewable natural resources.
This is based on the fact that the Albertine Graben where Uganda has discovered huge deposits of oil and gas, is also known for its rich biodiversity which are part of the backbone of the country’s tourism industry.
“I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Uganda’s National Oil and Gas policy (2008) which provides a basis to improve the conservation of natural resources (Forests, Lakes, River Banks and Wetlands), while also improving infrastructure, access to energy and education in communities close to sources of exploration or mining,” she said.
UNDP has supported Uganda’s conservation efforts and the responsible development of her mineral sector. In the past three years, it has spent close to US$8million supporting climate change, environment protection and reforestation projects.
The UNDP is also working with African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of Countries on a European Union-funded Development Minerals Programme.
The conference that attracted more than 500 participants from Uganda and beyond was organised by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum under the theme ‘Regional collaboration for first oil.’