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International Collaboration Sparks Innovation in Statistical Methods at Makerere University

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In a remarkable display of international collaboration, Makerere University Kampala, Uganda, recently hosted a dynamic workshop on multivariate statistics and time series analysis. This event, held from June 11 to June 20, 2024, brought together academic staff and students from Makerere‘s School of Statistics and Planning, alongside esteemed professors from the University of Padova, Italy. Funded by the Erasmus Mundus Plus program, this workshop exemplifies the transformative potential of global partnerships in higher education.

The Erasmus program, a pillar of the European Union’s educational initiatives for over 35 years, expanded its reach beyond Europe in 2015. Through the International Credit Mobility (ICM) scheme, Erasmus+ has enabled students and staff from around the world to engage in enriching educational exchanges. Makerere University‘s participation in the ERASMUS+ KA171 program aligns seamlessly with its 2020-2030 Strategic Plan, aiming to foster a research-led, responsive university with a versatile workforce.

The collaboration between Makerere University and the University of Padova, rooted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), underscores a commitment to academic exchange and innovation. This partnership has already seen three graduate students from Makerere—two Master of Statistics students and one PhD candidate—embark on transformative research experiences at the University of Padova. Additionally, academic staff from Makerere have engaged in reciprocal visits, fostering a vibrant exchange of knowledge and expertise.

Prof. Edward Bbaale (Centre) and Prof. James Wokadala (Left) hand over a gift to Prof. Mariangela Guidolin. Makerere University School of Statistics and Planning-University of Padova, Italy dynamic workshop on multivariate statistics and time series analysis, 11th to 20th June 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Bbaale and Prof. Wokadala hand over a gift to Prof. Mariangela Guidolin.

The workshop featured intensive training modules led by distinguished professors from the University of Padova. Prof. Bruno Scarpa, an expert in multivariate statistics, and Prof. Mariangela Guidolin, a renowned scholar in time series analysis. The two delivered comprehensive sessions designed to elevate the research capabilities of Makerere’s academic community. Coordinated by Dr. Felix Wamono, the training aimed to reinvigorate the teaching and application of these advanced statistical methods within the university.

Participants included 20 individuals—ten academic staff and ten graduate students—drawn from the Departments of Statistical Methods & Actuarial Science (SMAS), Planning and Applied Statistics, and Population Studies. For over eight days, attendees engaged in rigorous morning sessions from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, followed by collaborative afternoon discussions focused on enhancing teaching strategies and exploring new research avenues.

The workshop’s impact extends beyond immediate academic enrichment. It has fostered stronger networks between Makerere University and its international partners, paving the way for future collaborations. Dr. Saint Kizito Omala, former chair of the Department of Statistical Methods and Natural Science and a key advocate for international partnerships, emphasized the significance of these exchanges. His efforts have not only facilitated the current workshop but also supported ongoing student placements and collaborative research projects.

Prof. Edward Bbaale (Centre) and Prof. James Wokadala (Left) hand over a gift to Prof. Bruno Scarpa (Right). Makerere University School of Statistics and Planning-University of Padova, Italy dynamic workshop on multivariate statistics and time series analysis, 11th to 20th June 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Bbaale and Prof. Wokadala hand over a gift to Prof. Bruno Scarpa.

One notable outcome of these collaborations is a published paper co-authored by Richard Turagilize from the Department of Planning and Applied Statistics and Professor Basti from Italy. Such achievements show the tangible benefits of these international engagements, which enhance the research profiles of both institutions and contribute to the global academic community

As the workshop concluded, Principal Professor Edward Bbaale expressed profound gratitude to the visiting professors and commended the participants for their active involvement. He highlighted the importance of equipping Makerere University with the right tools for meaningful research training, noting that the institution’s commitment to graduate training is pivotal for its future.

The Deputy Principal and Dean of the School of Statistics congratulated the research team upon winning the grant, saying that it was a testament to their hard work and dedication. He also emphasized the need for continued collaboration with international partners to further enhance research capabilities at Makerere University.

The Erasmus+ KA171 program’s support for this workshop has not only strengthened the academic capacities of Makerere University but also reinforced its strategic vision of internationalization and research excellence. The university looks forward to continuing its fruitful partnership with the University of Padova, anticipating further advancements in statistical research and education. In the spirit of collaboration and innovation, Makerere University stands focused to make significant strides in the advancement of statistical methods, contributing to the global academic community and enhancing its own research-led mission.

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Building Resilience: Makerere Leads Climate Finance Training for Finance Officials

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Dr. Harald on a courtesy visit to the VC. Makerere University partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch the Resilience and Adaptation Mainstreaming Program (RAMP) training Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) officials to navigate the complex landscape of climate finance, Courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

In a significant step towards enhancing Uganda’s resilience against the economic impacts of climate change, Makerere University has partnered with the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch the Resilience and Adaptation Mainstreaming Program (RAMP). This initiative aims to equip officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the complex landscape of climate finance.

RAMP is part of a broader international effort to strengthen the capacity of governments, particularly in vulnerable and low- to middle-income countries, to manage the economic risks posed by climate change. Led by the WRI and supported by a network of 20 universities from Africa, Asia, and the West Indies, RAMP focuses on integrating climate adaptation strategies into the core operations of ministries of finance. This integration ensures that economic development priorities are aligned with climate adaptation needs, thereby enhancing access to adaptation finance.

Inaugural Training in Entebbe

The first training session under RAMP held in Entebbe started on July 23, bringing together policymakers and financial experts. Dr. Ulrich Volz from SOAS University of London highlighted the program’s emphasis on promoting high-quality teaching and research on climate adaptation economics and finance. “Working with local universities allows us to scale up the program effectively,” he noted. The network’s diverse range of institutions, including the University of the West Indies, University of Dar es Salaam, and University of Nairobi, underscores its global reach and commitment to building local capacity.

Prof. Edward Bbaale, Principal of the College of Business and Management Sciences at Makerere University, officially opened the 5-day training session. He urged participants to leverage this opportunity to develop their skills in sustainable finance and incorporate these practices into daily decision-making processes. Prof. Bbaale praised SOAS University of London and WRI for their partnership and the extensive training provided to the faculty in Ghana and Nairobi. He highlighted the critical role of education in equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools needed to address climate-related challenges in the financial sector.

Dr. Harald Heubaum and other participants. Makerere University partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch the Resilience and Adaptation Mainstreaming Program (RAMP) training Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) officials to navigate the complex landscape of climate finance, 23rd July 2024, Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa.

Dr. Harald Heubaum, Deputy Director of the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London, added that the program provides interdisciplinary training for policymakers, focusing on macro-fiscal policies, budgeting, financial sector supervision, trade, and public financial management. “We hope to use this workshop to build a shared understanding of the economics and finance of climate change adaptation,” he said.

Highlighting the Importance of Climate Finance

Mr. Bradley Kratzer, Adaptation Finance Associate at WRI, stressed the importance of integrating climate change considerations into financial decision-making processes. He called for collaboration between policymakers, financial institutions, and development organizations to address climate change challenges. “Integrating climate risk assessments into economic planning and budgeting is crucial for sustainable development,” he emphasized.

Mr. Sam Mugume and Dr. Harald Heubaum. Makerere University partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch the Resilience and Adaptation Mainstreaming Program (RAMP) training Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) officials to navigate the complex landscape of climate finance, 23rd July 2024, Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa.

Mr. Sam Mugume from MoFPED’s department of macro-economic policy expressed gratitude for the training, underscoring that climate change is not just an environmental issue but an economic one that requires proper management. He advocated for proactive measures such as investing in resilient infrastructure and promoting green finance initiatives to mitigate economic risks.

Climate Change Effects on Uganda

Uganda faces significant climate change impacts, including increased temperatures, erratic rainfall, and more frequent extreme weather events such as droughts and floods. These changes threaten agriculture, water resources, and overall economic stability. The agricultural sector, which employs a large portion of the population, is particularly vulnerable, with crop yields and livestock production expected to decline. This not only affects food security but also increases poverty levels, Dr. Ibrahim Mike Okumu shared during his presentation.

Dr. Mike Ibrahim Okumu speaks. Makerere University partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Finance at SOAS University of London and the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch the Resilience and Adaptation Mainstreaming Program (RAMP) training Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) officials to navigate the complex landscape of climate finance, 23rd July 2024, Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa.

RAMP’s efforts to build resilience and adaptation capacities in Uganda are thus timely and essential, Dr. Mugume added. By empowering government officials with the necessary skills and knowledge, the program aims to ensure that Uganda can effectively manage the economic challenges posed by climate change and safeguard its developmental gains.

The Resilience and Adaptation Mainstreaming Program represents a crucial step forward in the global fight against climate change. By fostering collaboration between leading academic institutions and government bodies, RAMP is setting the stage for a more resilient and sustainable future.

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Mak Environmental Economists Explore Uganda’s Albertine Oil Fields: Identifying Research and Collaboration Opportunities

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The Team during a visit to the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) office in Hoima. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.

A team of environmental economists from Makerere University recently visited the Albertine oil fields in Uganda to assess ongoing operations in terms of oil and gas exploration and uncover potential research and collaboration opportunities.

 The field visit conducted from 17th-20th July 2024 by the EfD –Mak centre  in the districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube  aimed to bridge the gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities,  environmental management and sustainable development.

The Team at the Kingfisher oil well. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team at the Kingfisher oil well.

The centre has established two layers of policy engagement by registering key policy actors both at national and subnational levels. This year’s centre theme is “Energy Efficiency”. The theme was selected following the need for transformation from biomass dependence to cleaner energy sources at household level, but also the need for cleaner energies in manufacturing, transport among others.

The reliance on biomass is a key global challenge towards environmental protection and reversing climate change effects. In Uganda, over 85% and 13% of the population use firewood and charcoal for cooking respectively.

The Team visits the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team visits the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant.

Established in 2018 and inaugurated at Makerere University in 2019, the EfD Mak centre strives to foster transdisciplinary research, knowledge transfer, and research-to-policy engagement and community interventions in environmental economics.

In view of the above, the centre organized a three day outreach in three districts and held her inaugural Annual General Meeting and launched a policy dialogue on 18th July 2024 at Glory Summit Hotel in Hoima which attracted over 60 people including district leadership, community based organisations, civil servants, private sector and academia.

Prof. Johnny Mugisha (5th Left) with other members of the team at the first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
Prof. Johnny Mugisha (5th Left) with other members of the team at the first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site.

 For the last two days, the researchers  led by the Centre Deputy Director Prof Johnny Mugisha visited the  Uganda Petroleum Authority in Hoima, visited  oil wells including the Central Processing Facility, King fisher, Tilenga Industrial Park,  Kasemene site 1, the Luwero Industries Ltd Oil waste treatment plant and the Kabalega International Airport.

“The objective of visiting the oil and gas sites and companies  is to enable our research fellows  familiarize with activities and operations in Uganda’s oil and gas with a view of fostering researchable projects, constructive dialogue and policy developments on critical  issues related to sustainable development, environmental stewardship, environmental risk management and responsible oil and gas operations in the sensitive ecosystem of Lake Albert and Murchison Falls National park”, team leader, Prof. Mugisha explained.

The team visits the Central Processing Facility. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The team visits the Central Processing Facility.

The centre’s areas of interest included the environmental impact assessment and monitoring, petroleum waste management practices, integration of biodiversity conservation, community engagement and socio economic impacts.

Other areas of interest were regulatory framework and compliance, water resource management and protection, climate change resilience and adaptation strategies, corporate social responsibility initiatives, long term environmental management plans and how Makerere University can collaborate effectively with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, CNOOC, UNOC and Total Uganda to enhance research and knowledge sharing on sustainable practices, environmental conservation and petroleum management.

EfD Researchers Gain Critical Insights from Oil and Gas Community Visits

Researchers concluded a three-day visit to oil and gas communities, gaining firsthand insights into the sector’s impact and future prospects. The visit emphasized the need for informed research and sustainable planning to maximize the benefits of Uganda’s oil and gas resources and prepare for future challenges.

The Team receives a talk at the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team receives a talk at the Luweero Industries Ltd waste treatment plant.

Firsthand Observations Critical: Dr. Madina Mwagale Guloba, Senior Research Fellow at EfD Mak, emphasized the value of seeing conditions on the ground to counteract misinformation about oil and gas exploration. “Seeing is believing, and seeing also learning from a point of view is very critical,” she stated. Dr. Guloba dispelled what she termed “corridor talk,” noting that community members affected by oil projects appeared happier and saw more opportunities. She stressed the importance of sustainable planning, saying, “In the next 30 years, people would have gotten even more opportunities.”

Cross-Cutting Research Needed: Prof. Johnny Mugisha, Deputy Centre Director, emphasized the necessity of interdisciplinary research, noting the interdependence of the petroleum sector and farming communities. He underscored that Makerere University needs to boost its research and outreach efforts to aid policy development. “From interactions in Hoima, Bulisa, and with people in the oil sector, the lessons learned indicate that Makerere University has much more to contribute, especially in research, outreach, and grassroots stakeholder engagement. We often view the petroleum and gas sector as separate from farming communities, but our experiences show a significant relationship and interaction between them. Therefore, research should not be limited to one entity but should be cross-cutting,” stated Mugisha.

The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava.

On-the-Ground Engagement: Dr. Alex Tatwangire, Research Fellow and Lecturer, emphasized the value of direct stakeholder interaction, noting effective environmental mitigation plans and agricultural integration in restoring livelihoods for project-affected persons. He called for continued research to address policy gaps. The visit highlighted the importance of informed research and sustainable planning in maximizing the benefits of Uganda’s oil and gas resources while preparing for future opportunities.

Reflecting on his experience, Dr. Tatwangire remarked, “This engagement with stakeholders on the policy of energy utilization in Hoima has been incredibly useful. We’ve had the chance to observe the oil extraction process firsthand. Reading about it and hearing about it is one thing, but going on the ground and interacting with everyone involved provides a much richer understanding.”

Dr. Alex Tatwangire at the house of one of the resettled beneficiaries. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
Dr. Alex Tatwangire at the house of one of the resettled beneficiaries.

He continued, “Seeing the wells, well pads, regulations, infrastructure, and the oil pipeline being laid, and being assured that oil will flow within a year, has been enlightening. We’ve learned a lot about the connections between the environment and how plans are in place to mitigate environmental damage. We also saw how agriculture is integrated into livelihood restoration for project-affected persons, with strategies to strengthen these livelihoods through training, seeds, and advanced technologies.”

Dr. Tatwangire concluded, “I return with a great appreciation for the progress being made. As researchers, our role is to identify gaps, explore research questions, and provide the evidence policymakers need to improve policy planning. I am grateful to EfD, our financiers, and Makerere University for these opportunities, and I hope for more such engagements to enhance our relevance in policy debates and development.”

Jane Anyango is the Communication Officer EfD Uganda

More photos from the Field Visit

The first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The first Oil driller sunk by Tullow Oil at Kasamene Site.

First Crude Oil storage tanks at Kasamene Site 1. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
First Crude Oil storage tanks at Kasamene Site 1.

The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
The Team visits the home of the resettled beneficiary engaged in adding value to cassava.
A stopover at a pipeline connecting to Tilenga. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
A stopover at a pipeline connecting to Tilenga.

A visit to Kabalega International Airport. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, Field Visit to Albertine Oil Fields, Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube Districts, Uganda, East Africa, aimed at bridging gap between academic research and practical applications, focusing on the interaction between oil extraction activities and local communities, environmental management and sustainable development. 17th-20th July 2024.
A visit to Kabalega International Airport.

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EfD Hosts Policy Dialogue on Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions: Hoima Residents Call for Expanded Access to Clean Energy

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Participants pose for a group photo at the EfD-Mak Policy Dialogue in Hoima City. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.

Hoima, July 18, 2024 – Stakeholders from Hoima’s local government, private sector, and civil society organizations have urged the government to expand access to clean energy sources like electricity and LPGs to facilitate the country’s transition from biomass and achieve its green growth strategy.  Despite Uganda’s capacity to generate and export electricity to neighboring countries, access and affordability remain significant challenges for rural areas and a large portion of the population.

During a policy dialogue hosted by the EfD-Mak Center in Hoima, themed “Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects,” stakeholders highlighted the necessity of addressing these challenges. The event, part of the EfD Annual Meeting, gathered district local government officials, both technical and political, as well as academia, youth, and members of the private and civil society organizations.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Johnny Mugisha, Deputy Director of the EfD-Mak Center, emphasized the importance of holding the dialogue in Hoima due to the region’s developments in energy. “The energy we are talking about includes firewood, charcoal, petroleum, electricity, and many others. We deliberately chose Hoima because of the energy developments here, and we are looking forward to petroleum-sourced energy,” Mugisha explained.

Prof. Johnny Mugisha delivers the opening remarks at the policy dialogue. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
Prof. Johnny Mugisha delivers the opening remarks at the policy dialogue.

He noted the slow and long-term transition from biomass to cleaner energy sources, underscoring the need for discussions around biomass and clean energy. “Energy efficiency means how much you get from the energy you use to achieve a result, for example, how much electricity you use when cooking matooke,” he said. “This dialogue is a roundtable discussion for us all to give our input on what is causing what and how best to sustainably use the environment as we transition to clean energy sources.”

Prof. Mugisha stressed the university’s commitment to promoting such dialogues across the country. “Our intention is to get the root causes right from the grassroots communities so that together we can propose solutions to inform policymakers for decision-making and implementation,” he concluded.

Uganda’s Path to Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions: Key Insights from Dr. John Sseruyange

In his presentation Dr. John Sseruyange highlighted the critical role of energy efficiency and emission reduction in transforming Uganda from a peasant society to a modern, prosperous nation, as envisioned under Vision 2040.

“Energy acts as a catalyst that drives all other sectors,” stated Dr. Sseruyange. With agriculture contributing to 71.7% of employment, the mechanization of Uganda’s economy and the expanding transport sector are significantly increasing fossil fuel and biomass usage, leading to heightened carbon emissions and deforestation.

Dr. John Sseruyange presenting on behalf of the EfD-Mak Centre. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
Dr. John Sseruyange presenting on behalf of the EfD-Mak Centre.

Dr. Sseruyange warned of the dangers of biomass reliance, noting that Uganda’s forest cover has decreased from 24% in 1990 to 9% in 2015 due to tree cutting for firewood and charcoal. “The rapid rate of forest depletion is alarming,” he said, emphasizing the health and environmental impacts of biomass fuels, including air pollution and associated diseases.

The presentation highlighted that women and children, especially girls, are disproportionately affected by biomass fuel collection, which hampers productive activities and schooling. “The burden of wood fuel collection falls heavily on women and children,” noted Dr. Sseruyange.

Dr. Sseruyange identified several barriers to energy transition in Uganda, including weak implementation capacity, cultural preferences, and limited accessibility to affordable and reliable clean energy. He pointed out that only 42% of the population had access to hydropower by 2021, and many clean energy systems, such as LPG, remain unaffordable for small businesses.

Addressing governance, Dr. Sseruyange explained the complex interplay of institutions involved in promoting efficient energy systems, ranging from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to international organizations like the World Bank. He stressed the importance of household and industrial capacity in adopting new technologies.

A section of research fellows attending the policy dialogue. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
A section of research fellows attending the policy dialogue.

Despite these challenges, Dr. Sseruyange outlined several promising initiatives aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and reducing emissions. Vision 2040 focuses on upgrading industrial technologies to less energy-consuming alternatives. The National Development Plans aim to increase clean energy accessibility and promote efficient cooking technologies. The Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy emphasizes low carbon development and solar energy installation.

Additionally, Uganda’s hydropower capacity has increased from 1278.6 MW in 2019/20 to 1370.8 MW in 2021/22, demonstrating improved energy generation capacity. Solar energy expansion efforts have resulted in off-grid solar installations reaching 30,000 households, with several solar PV plants contributing over 65 MW. The Clean Cooking Supply Chain Expansion Project has sold 72,535 energy-saving stoves by 2020. Furthermore, the government is aiming to distribute 1 million subsidized LPG cylinders to promote cleaner cooking technologies.

Dr. Sseruyange also highlighted the establishment of Kiira Motors to produce electric vehicles and the development of highways and non-motorized transport systems to reduce urban traffic congestion and emissions. “The government is taking significant steps towards a sustainable energy future,” he concluded.

Some of the participants that attended the dialogue. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
Some of the participants that attended the dialogue.

In closing, Dr. Sseruyange called for policy and regulatory reforms, public awareness campaigns, and rigorous assessments to promote energy transitions. “How can we, as a nation, collaboratively promote energy transitions?” he posed to the audience, urging collective action from government, NGOs, and the general public.

Participants React

During the plenary discussions, several interventions were proposed to enhance the transition to green technologies. Highlighting the negative environmental impacts of high school dropout rates.

 Participants noted that many youths turn to activities like bricklaying, charcoal burning, and sand mining for survival, which harms the environment. They called for public education and awareness programs to address fears and cultural biases against new energy technologies. “Education on the benefits of using these technologies is crucial,” said Harriet the district natural resources officer.

A participant contributing to the discussion. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
A participant contributing to the discussion.

Affordability of new energy sources was another major concern, with high initial costs and refilling expenses for LPGs making them inaccessible for many rural poor.

Participants also highlighted the problem of low-quality counterfeits sabotaging payment schemes for acquiring new technologies, calling for regulation to address quality standards.

Cultural perceptions that clean cooking energies are for the rich and lazy further hinder the transition, underscoring the need for continuous public sensitization, which they stressed should be physical.

Dr. Ilakur John contributing to the dialogue. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
Dr. Ilakur John contributing to the dialogue.

Limited budgets for local governments and weak enforcement mechanisms were also cited as barriers to implementing clean energy programs. Participants proposed subsidies for manufacturers and consumers of clean energy sources, expanding access to electricity and LPGs in rural areas, and ensuring widespread availability and awareness of green technologies.

Hoima District Leadership Decries Effects of Indoor Pollution

The Vice Chairperson of Hoima District, Hellen Namulumba, raised concerns about the severe effects of indoor pollution on the community’s health.

Closing the policy dialogue, Namulumba appreciated the organizers for addressing these critical issues, noting that many lives have been lost due to ignorance about the dangers of indoor pollution.

The Vice Chairperson of Hoima District closing the dialogue. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
The Vice Chairperson of Hoima District closing the dialogue.

“There is no single woman in the village who would wish to continue cooking on firewood but they are incapacitated. They can adopt to other energy sources like electric and gas cockers”, she stressed

Namulumba highlighted the increasing cases of cancer, associating the disease to the use of biomass. “It is my prayer that we conduct many of these engagements at the grassroots level, bringing on board sub-county political leaders,” she said.

She called for government intervention to reduce indoor pollution by extending power coverage to rural areas beyond 50%, reducing power unit costs for domestic users, and ensuring consistent power supply. “If government can intervene, indoor pollution can reduce. If government can extend power coverage to rural areas beyond 50% and reduce the cost of power units for domestic users and ensure there is consistency in power supply, I think our people can enjoy this country,” Namulumba stated.

Dr. Madina Guloba speaking during the plenary session. Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, Makerere University, policy dialogue on "Energy Efficiency and Reduced Emissions in Uganda: Facts and Prospects," as part of Annual General Meeting, Glory Summit Hotel, Hoima District, Uganda, East Africa, 18th July 2024.
Dr. Madina Guloba speaking during the plenary session.

She also emphasized the need to support small-scale innovators, such as those manufacturing briquettes and improved cooking stoves, to reduce indoor pollution. Additionally, she called for strengthened policies for emission control systems in automobiles to reduce cancer and other disease rates.

“If at all government can boost small-scale innovators like assisting briquette manufacturers in marketing their products through sensitization, boost those making improved cooking stoves, we can reduce indoor pollution,” she said. “And if government can strengthen policies for emission control systems in automobiles that can greatly make an impact in reducing the rate of people dying of cancers and other diseases.” she proposed.

Namulumba thanked the participants for their attendance and pledged the district’s commitment to support them in these initiatives, appealing to them to come up with budgets to support those engaged in making alternative energy sources.

Jane Anyango is the Communication Officer EfD Uganda

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