KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
Uganda’s central bank, the Bank of Uganda, on
Monday said the country’s economy will grow at 6.3 percent in
the medium term.
Mutebile, the bank’s governor, told reporters that economic
growth continues to strengthen, while the real gross domestic
product (GDP) growth for financial year 2017/18 is estimated at
5.5 percent compared to 3.9 percent in 2016/17.
“Economic growth is
projected to strengthen further in financial year 2018/19 to 6
percent and to an average of about 6.3 percent over the medium
term,” Mutebile said.
He said the growth
is supported by public infrastructure investments, improving
agricultural productivity, recovery in foreign direct
investment, and strengthening private sector credit growth. He
noted that this is partly a result of the easing monetary
Mutebile said there
are however downside risks to the growth outlook including
challenges relating to financing of public investment programs
and weak external balance position coupled with escalation of
global trade tensions.
investment programs could substantially raise output and be
self-financing in the long run, transitional challenges of
funding these investments can be formidable, and may crowd out
private investment and consumption, thus delaying the growth
benefits of public investment,” he said.
About the core
inflation forecast, Mutebile said it will continue rising and
peak in the range of 6-7 percent in the second half of financial
year 2018/19 but will stabilize around the medium-term target of
5 percent by end of 2019.
He said the rise is
a result of a combination of several factors that include
increase in fuel prices, the closure of the negative output gap
and the increased taxes.
“Key risk to the
inflation outlook is the shilling exchange rate which remains
vulnerable to the domestic market conditions and possibility of
tighter global financial conditions. The weaker shilling
exchange rate combined with higher oil price assumptions could
result in a more elevated inflation trajectory,” he said.
“Food prices are
projected to remain low in the forecast horizon and are not seen
as a major risk to the inflation outlook, but this can quickly
change depending on the weather conditions,” Mutebile said.
managing director of Alpha Capital, a private financial firm,
told Xinhua that the central bank will have to balance the
growth outlook and the incipient risks of higher than usual
inflation against a backdrop of volatility in oil prices,
weakening shilling, and the impact of the recently introduced
“Because of these
upside inflationary risks, including supply shocks if oil prices
continue to climb as well as possible further currency
depreciation, the central bank will have to keep a watchful eye
and maintain a neutral stance,” he said.
Construction of Uganda’s largest power plant enters final
KIRYANDONGO Uganda (Xinhua) --
Construction of Uganda’s largest hydropower plant
has entered its final phase, with installation works taking over
Working in tunnels
below River Nile in the northern Ugandan district of Kiryandongo,
Chinese engineers and their Ugandan counterparts carefully
install machinery for the 600 MW plant.
They work in day and
night shifts to ensure that the 1.688 billion U.S. dollar Karuma
Hydro Power Plant is completed within the next year.
“More than 85
percent of the work is complete. It’s not an easy job because it
involves designing the structure, installation and connecting
cables,” Li Huiting, the deputy project manager, told Xinhua in
a recent interview.
Li is optimistic
that by the end of this year, the installation of the first out
of the six units would be complete.
Construction of the
plant, the first in east and central Africa to be built
underground, started in August 2013.
In addition to the
anticipated capacity of 600 MW, the project has had a major
skills transfer, especially among the youth, according to the
and technicians work closely with their Ugandan counterparts,
Li, the deputy project manager, said.
More than 6,000
youths have been employed at the construction site, according to
Sinohydro, a Chinese company contracted to build the plant.
Andrew Kamagara, a
local engineer, told Xinhua that he was originally a water
engineer but has since expanded his knowledge base.
“I used to be scared
of the structural bit, but when I came to Karuma Hydro Power
Project I gained that information and it increased my confidence
in structural design,” he said.
another employee, told Xinhua that he has gained skills in metal
welding besides rock blasting.
“I had a rough idea
about welding, but right now I am an expert,” Muzahamu said.
“Even if Synohydro goes and there is no blasting job yet, I can
make my own workshop and start making my things.”
villages near the construction site has also shown the positive
Severino Opio, the
local council leader of Karuma village, told Xinhua that some of
the youths employed at the construction site have been able to
buy land and build houses.
Karuma is a major
stopover of buses to the central and northern part of the east
African country. Supermarkets, saloons, hotels have sprung up,
thanks to the construction of the power plant.
At the national
level, the power plant is seen as a major investment that will
address the country’s rising demand for electricity.
Since 2005, the
share of Uganda’s population with access to electricity has
increased from 9 percent to 22 percent, with the total number of
customers having grown from 292,000 to more than 1.1 million,
according to government figures.
The country’s power
generation and installed capacity is estimated at 930 MW,
according to government data.
It is estimated that
1,131 MW will be required to meet the national electricity
demand by 2020.
Uganda launches mobile
application to fight fall army worm
By Ronald Ssekandi MUKONO Uganda (Xinhua)
-- Ernest Bongole, a farmer in the
central Uganda district of Mukono, almost lost his entire one
acre maize garden to the devastating fall army worm (FAW).
anticipated that he would have a bumper harvest so that he could
give some of the maize to the school where his children go.
affected my maize garden a lot, I struggled to get enough maize
to give to the school to allow my children to study,” he told
Xinhua on Monday.
Out of desperacy,
Bongole resorted to the use of pesticides, which had side
effects on his skin as he did not have protective gear.
He is among the 3.6
million farmers or 9 percent of the country’s population that
lost an estimated 450,000 tonnes of maize or an equivalent to
192 million U.S. dollars during the first cropping season of
2017, according to government figures.
The country on
Monday launched the FAW Monitoring and Early Warning System (FAMEWS),
a mobile application that can be used as a monitoring and early
Speaking at the
launch in the central Ugandan district of Mukono, Charles Owach,
an official from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),
said the move is critical in ensuring food security and economic
livelihood of farmers.
He said FAMEWS works
as an early warning system that policy makers and government can
use to warn farmers and also devise means of combating the worm
that eats the leafy parts of crops like maize and rice.
Owach handed over
126 smart phones installed with the application to the Ugandan
government, noting that they will be distributed to 100 villages
across the country, especially in 15 districts that have had the
Owach said it is a
pilot project that will eventually be rolled out to all parts of
the country to curb the threat that the worm presents to food
John Bahana, a
specialist in FAW, said that working through farmer groups,
their leaders would be provided with the phones. When they open
the application, the feed in the data from the garden for
instance how many worms they have seen and then send the
information to a national data center.
At the data center,
the information will be analyzed and basing on the results,
appropriate actions will be taken at country and continental
Bahana said that
when the devastating transboundary caterpillars pupate into a
moth, they can fly up to 500 km in a day depending on the speed
He said each moth
has the capacity of laying over 2,000 eggs which can hatch in a
FAO also gave
farmers traps lured with a chemical that attracts male months.
Bahana said once the
farmers notice an increase in the number of the moths trapped,
they have to start managing their gardens by spraying with
Tibeijuka, commissioner for crop protection at the ministry of
agriculture, animal industry and fisheries said there are other
methods that are still under investigation to fight the FAW.
He said preliminary
research has showed that there are flies that feed on the worm
and therefore can help in decimating it. Research is also
ongoing on fungus and nematodes.
He urged farmers
that although the destruction rate of the FAW has reduced, they
should not get tired of monitoring their gardens, noting that
once they notice that 2 of 10 crops are affected, they must
destroy the worm.