Private Sector called upon to support refugees during the Uganda Solidarity Summit

Jun 26, 2017

Mr. Patrick Bitature the Chairperson of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) addressing the Private Sector Side event during the Uganda Solidarity Summit held in Kampala from the 22-23 June 2017. (Photo Credit: UNDP Uganda)

Kampala - Members of the Private Sector have been asked to match up the public sector’s efforts towards supporting refugees.

The call was made by Mr. Patrick Bitature, the Chairperson of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) during the Uganda Solidarity Summit’s Private Sector Side Event focusing on the theme: “Enabling the Private Sector to support Refugees and Refugee hosting communities.”

The Solidarity Summit was convened by H.E President Yoweri K. Museveni and the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, from the 22-23 June 2017 to rally the international community. 

“Refugees are looking for financial inclusion and participation in the economy because it gives them hope and dignity. This is what they are asking for and as Private sector, we can try to provide that,” Mr. Bitature said.

He added that refugees should be seen as opportunities since they come with skills that can be used to grow Uganda’s economy.

Echoing him, other participants’ agreed that it was important to provide refugees with business and employment opportunities instead of handouts.

“I have worked with refugees in Kyangwali refugee settlement before where I built a produce store. The refugees would grow maize and sell it to me.  What I discourage is giving them handouts because it discourages work,” Ms. Julian Omalla (left), the Managing Director of Delight Uganda Limited who is also one of Uganda’s top female entrepreneurs said.

Ms. Amiina Hersi, another entrepreneur called for identification of highly skilled refugees who could be employed to benefit Uganda.

Ms. Jolly Kaguhangire (left), Uganda Investment Authority (UIA)’s Executive Director called on the Private Sector to invest in refugee hosting districts.

“Northern Uganda as a whole have huge investment potential. Arua, for example, one of the refugee hosting districts is very rich in natural resources, it’s a border town as well which implies a large cross border market,” Ms. Kaguhangire said.

The United Nations Development Programme led side event was intended to showcase the contribution of the private sector to refugees and host communities as well as present successful business models that provide a compelling business case for investing in refugee hosting communities.

“This side event was intended to start the conversation on how the Private Sector can invest in refugee-hosting communities, not just as a gesture of philanthropy, but because it makes a business case to do so,” Ms. Almaz Gebru (left) , the UNDP Uganda Country Director said.

She pledged UNDP’s continued support to working with the Private Sector to engage in issues related to socio-economic transformation of refugees and their hosts.

Members of the Private Sector pledged to provide skills training and employment to refugees while PSFU pledged to set up a desk to provide financial literacy to refugees and refugee-hosting communities.