On December 12, 2016 Uganda launched the first ever largest grid-connected solar plant (10 megawatt) in East Africa. The plant is made up of 32,680 photovoltaic panels, is constructed in the Eastern Uganda in Soroti district. It was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff under the scheme for renewable energy projects with financial support from the Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and funded by the governments of Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Women activists have rejected a new United Nations’ report which suggests that Ugandan men are more productive in contributing to the agricultural sector than women.
A UN Women and United Nations Development Programme report launched yesterday, indicates that in Uganda, 27 per cent of plots and 20 per cent of all cultivated land is under the sole management of women.
The remaining 73 per cent of plots and 80 per cent of all cultivated land is managed either by women and men or solely by men. It further estimates men’ productivity at 70 per cent against women’s put at 30 per cent.
“It is true men own most of the land but it is women who cultivate on these pieces of land. After harvesting, the men go and sell, taking all the productivity credit,” Centre for Conflict Resolution, executive director Rose Othieno said.
The Dean School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University, Prof Josephine Ahikire agreed with Ms Othieno. “What is this productivity they talking about? I do not believe that men are more productive”, she told Daily Monitor.
Speaking after the launch of the report, women activists called for women agricultural bank and agricultural inputs.
The report also supported by World Bank and UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative Nairobi provides a unique quantification of the costs in terms of lost growth opportunities and an estimate of what societies, economies, and communities would gain if the gender gap in agriculture is addressed.
Mr David Smith, the UNDP-UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative Nairobi manager in Africa, said the findings of the report are striking, and send a strong signal to policy makers in Africa as well as development partners.
“Closing the gender gap is smart economics. Consider this: closing the gender gap in agricultural productivity could potentially lift as many as 238,000 people out of poverty in Malawi, 80,000 people in Tanzania, and 119,000 people in Uganda,” he said.
The report calls for women to access agricultural machinery and other production technologies, which has the potential to increase GDP by over U$11 million in Uganda.
It also recommends for further research undertaken looking at the relative impacts of specific policies and interventions as well as their cost-efficiency in order to quantify their net benefits.
The Bidco Truth Coalition (BTC) an activist alliance from Eastern Africa, last week took to the streets of London to demonstrate against banks that do business with Bidco Africa. The activists highlighted the connection between global financial institutions, the Prince of Wales and widespread deforestation in Africa.
The Bidco Africa Program is funded among others, by Barclays and Standard Chartered Banks. The protestors picketed the London headquarters of Barclays and Standard Chartered, who they claim are funding Bidco Africa’s deforestation to make way for palm oil production in places like Uganda
Barclays and Standard Chartered Banks are members of the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), which is a group of international banks convened to collectively direct capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development. The BEI is co-ordinate and supported by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) under the patronage of The Prince of Wales. There are eleven international banks that are currently members of the BEI, headquartered across Asia, Europe and North America: Barclays, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds Banking Group, Northern Trust, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Standard Chartered and Westpac.
Bidco Africa, which is accused of multiple human rights, labour, tax and environmental violations, has publically stated that it does business with Barclays, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank.
Bidco owns an oil palm plantation that has deforested 18,000 acres of rainforest in Uganda, and also grabbed land from over 100 smallholder farmers.
A Dubai-based solar power developer, Access Power MEA has is constructing the first utility-scale solar PV plant in Uganda via its subsidiary; Access Uganda Solar Limited. The company will construct, own and operate the 10 MW PV plant. The solar power facility once complete will be the largest independent solar power project in sub-Saharan Africa.
The project is the first in the country to benefit from the GET FiT Solar Facility, which is a dedicated solar PV support scheme that is managed by German development bank KfW on behalf of the local government and the European Union Infrastructure Trust Fund.
The project started in December 2015 and is located in Soroti, Eastern Uganda. the Solar Energy Power facility sits on a 33 acre piece of land, and since its commencement has created 200 jobs for the local population in Soroti according to the project owners.
The project will be completed and commissioned before the end of this year. The power generated from this plant will be added to the main grid to help reduce load shedding. Over 40,000 households near the plant are expected to benefit from the Solar Power project.
The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in collaboration with National Association of Women’s Action in Development (NAWAD) have launched a Women-led campaign on fossils, energy and climate.
The NAPE and NAWAD are members of WoMin - an Alliance of African Women against Destructive Extractivesm. WoMin is an alliance of African Women with members from 12 countries in Africa namely: South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. WoMin works to promote women’s rights in regard to natural resources extraction, with specific focus on the mining sector in Africa.
The negative impacts of extractive industry projects fall predominantly on women rather than men and are much more significant than generally recognized, including the breakdown of family relations and a significant increase in family tensions and domestic violence associated with the arrival of projects in poor communities.
As the people most affected by the extractive industry, women themselves must be at the forefront to fight for their rights. In an effort to promote women’s rights, has commissioned a women-led campaigns on fossils, energy and climate change in four countries (Nigeria, DRC, Uganda and South Africa) were the alliance has members. The alliance members will conduct national campaigns in their respective countries, and then later form an African region women-led campaign. The African Women-led Campaign is expected to influence decisions on Human Rights, Culture and Business at international level.
To kick-start the national campaign, the member groups in these countries have conducted national consultative meetings to introduce a women-led campaign to their local & grass-root networks. The Uganda national campaign is spearheaded by NAPE in collaboration with NAWAD. The two organizations conducted a national consultative meeting for rural and grassroot women from the Albertine region, Northern Uganda and Karamoja region.
The network of women in this campaign will work in solidarity to build sisterhood and with a united voice demand for participation in decision-making in the oil sector, and demand for fair treatment and equitable share in the extractive sector.