EU support to infrastructure mainly focuses on transport but significant support has also been extended to the water and sanitation sector and to limited extent energy.
Support to the Transport Sector in Uganda is one of the major areas of EU-Uganda Co-operation. The Infrastructure Section of the EU Delegation to Uganda is in charge of sector analysis and identification, formulation, implementation and evaluation of EU funded projects, mainly focused on road transport. The road sector is undergoing substantial reform processes towards user financed commercial operations. Therefore engagement in sector policy dialogue with GoU on legislative and institutional framework is important. Coordination of Development Partner efforts in the sector, as current chair of the Uganda Transport Sector Development Partners Group is another significant activity of the Infrastructure Section.
The role of transport in achieving economic growth, reducing poverty, and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is outlined in a series of international reports, including the EC Communication (2000) 422. This Communication – Promoting sustainable transport in development cooperation - guides the Community and the Member States support to transport in developing countries. Furthermore, as outlined in the EC Communication (2006) 376 Interconnecting Africa: the EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure will support and initiate programmes that facilitate interconnectivity at continental level. The role of transport in combating poverty was confirmed in the European Consensus and the EU strategy for Africa.
In the case of Uganda, the EU has supported the transport sector and in particular the road sub-sector since the seventies. Transport is the focal sector in the National Indicative Programme (NIP) of the 9th and 10th EDF. The need to strengthen the road sector reform process with a view to achieve sustainability is recognised in the Country Strategy Paper (CSP) and in the NIP. The support to road sector institutions is critical to ensure that the past, ongoing, and foreseen investments in road infrastructure are preserved through improved management and funding specifically in road maintenance. Current commitment to road projects amounts to € 155 million including € 122 million committed under the 10th EDF. A further €10 million has been committed to technical assistance programmes to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), the Uganda Road Fund (URF) and strengthening of the Local construction industry. The EU has also supported urgent repairs to the Kampala-Malaba railway line including rehabilitation of the Jinja Nile railway bridge. The overall objective of the EU interventions in the road sector is to promote trade and regional integration through reduction of transport costs and travel time. The main challenges to the sustainability of the investments in the road are the enforcement of load limits for vehicles which is crucial for the roads to last for the intended life and the elimination of trade barriers (mainly Non-Tariff Barriers at the border posts and along the roads) in the East African region.
Although it is not the focal sector, the Water and Sanitation Sector has received considerable support from the EU. The total funding from 2001 to date is approximately 50 million Euros.
Through the Energy Facility, the EU contributes to achieving the Millennium Development Goals in terms of poverty alleviation and environment by increasing access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy for the poor in rural and peri-urban areas. The EU also funds actions to improve governance and framework conditions in the energy sector at regional, national and local levels, in particular those aimed at promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. Current commitments to the energy sector amount to € 3.9 million. More details on the projects under the Energy Facility please refer to the Rural Development Section.