The past decade saw strong growth in Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product, averaging 7.5% per annum. This was affected by external and internal economic shocks in the form of a global economic crisis, increased cases of corruption and drought that affected agricultural production. However, the economy bounced back by 2013 raising GDP positively to 6-7%. The high economic growth resulted in substantial reduction in the country’s poverty levels. The Overall share of the population living in poverty declined from 56.4% to 22% in 2013 (Uganda Bureau of Statistics). This was largely due to diversification of the economy as most Ugandans engaged in other enterprises, other than farming.
Despite the overall reduction in poverty however, the incidence of poverty remained high in the rural areas. In 2013, while urban poverty was at 10% of the total population, rural poverty levels that affected 85% of the population stood at twice that number (25%), with the northern Uganda at 49%, Eastern Region at 28%, Western Region at 9% and the Central Region at 5.2%.
At the same time, Uganda continued to experience a rapid population growth, which was putting pressure on employment, education, health and skills training. With an annual population growth rate of 3.3% annually, Uganda’s population exploded from 24.2 million in 2002 to 35million by 2013, making Uganda a country with one of the fastest growing populations in Africa, with a young age structure of about 50% below 15 years of age.
Recently, Uganda made a number of oil discoveries in Albertine Graben Region. This has become the hope of the nation and is expected to prominently feature in Uganda’s development in the coming decades. These discoveries were mainly in Mputa Albertine region and other reserves within Nwoya, Buliisa and Hoima Districts. With these development, Uganda is expected to become East Africa’s second highest oil producer after south Sudan with a potential of 2 billion barrels of Oil. Peak production is expected to be 150,000-200,000 barrels per day for 10-20 years. This is expected to bring an estimate of $2-3billion and create at least 10,000 jobs on peak production. (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development).
Experiences from other countries however show that oil discoveries can manifest both as benefits and challenges for the residents of the host region and the country as whole if it is not managed well. Within the context of poverty and weak institutions, the discovery of oil might result in increased cases of corruption, patronage, instability and conflict unless government establishes an institutional framework that is transparent and ensures fair and equitable distribution of the benefits realized from the Oil with careful consideration of economic, social and environmental issues.
The discoveries have raised a lot of expectations with the Ugandan populace who are looking forward to opportunities that will reduce poverty levels, create jobs and generate revenue. The potential of oil driven economic development has generated high expectations and the government of Uganda wants to ensure that the people and Institutions of the Albertine region significantly benefit from the development.
Substantial gains in terms of oil related infrastructural improvements are already taking place in the region. The government has commenced the process of upgrading roads, linking the Lake Albert shore to the towns of Hoima and Masindi. As a result, local villages and towns along these roads have started reaping benefits accruing from the upgrades. These include among others; greater access to the market as well as improved revenue generation from taxes.
The Government of Uganda intends to venture into full-scale production of oil in the Albertine Graben by 2020. In the meantime, more exploration related works are ongoing as well as preparatory interventions to set up the ground for full-scale oil and gas production. Among the preparatory interventions include; agreement and approval of field development plans, infrastructure and facilities development, environmental impact assessment, and capacity building and training, to manage the sector well once oil production commences.
The Government of Uganda intends to ensure that the Albertine region takes advantage of the resources and benefits that will be realized from oil exploration. It is for this reason that the government requested the World Bank for support to enable adequate preparation and facilitation of an orderly, sustainable and more inclusive transformation of the Albertine Region. Of particular concern is ensuring there is;
- Reliable regional transport infrastructure that will improve connectivity and access within the region that will spur growth of other sectors like agriculture, tourism and fishing;
- Local area development for orderly and planned growth and improvements in infrastructure and services rapidly urbanising centres in the region;
- A more skilled workforce and better technical training institutions that respond to the skills and employment demands of the region.
This request was operationalized by the formulation of the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project (USD 145m). ARSDP is a multi-sectoral project that is being implemented in the country. It is designed to complement other initiatives that are already on-going in the Albertine region.
The ARSDP is a multi-sectoral project aimed at improving regional and local access to infrastructure, market and skills development in the Albertine region.
The implementation of the project rest with the three different institutions in line with their Institutional mandates. The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MOLHUD) and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is responsible for the implementation of component 1 of the ARSDP by ensuring there is reliable regional transport infrastructure that will improve connectivity and access within the Albertine Region and spur growth of other sectors like agriculture, tourism and fishing. Component 2 which is responsible for local area development for orderly and planned growth and improvements in infrastructure and services rapidly urbanising centres in the region is implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED).
Project Development Objective
The Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project (ARSDP) aims at improving regional and local access to infrastructure, market and skills development in the Albertine region.
In line with the objectives of the project, the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project has 3 components which include:
- Regional access and connectivity,
- Local Access, Planning and Development
- Skills Access and Upgrading.
The Project became effective on 1st July 2014 and was due for completion on 30th June 2018. However, an extension was provided for the implementation of the project, which is now expected to close on 29th January 2021.
COMPONENT 1: REGIONAL ACCESS AND CONNECTIVITY
This component is being implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MOLHUD) and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). It aims at improving overall accessibility to the Albertine region, reduction of travel times and improved access to markets and services. The component is financing upgrade of approximately 100 Km stretch of road from Kyenjojo to Kabwoya which forms part of the 238 Km Kyenjojo – Hoima –Masindi – Kigumba road connecting the districts of Kyenjojo, Kibaale, Hoima, Masindi, and Kiryandongo in western Uganda.
COMPONENT 2: LOCAL ACCESS, PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Component 2, which is implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) supports physical planning and infrastructure development in the three Local Governments of; Hoima District, Buliisa District and Buliisa Town Council. This component also has a physical planning sub-component which is financing preparation of Physical Development Plans of Nine (9) Urban Centres namely; Wanseko, and Biiso in Buliisa District as well as Kigorobya, Kiziranfumbi, Kyangwali, Kabwoya, Butema, Kyarushesha and Buhuka in Hoima District. In addition, the sub-component also supports capacity building of the respective councils to implement the plans.
COMPONENT 3: SKILLS ACCESS AND UPGRADING (IMPLEMENTED BY THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION & SPORTS)
Aside from planning for the economic development of the Albertine Region, Government prioritized training, to develop the necessary skills for Ugandans to participate more effectively and benefit from the Petroleum Industry.
Component 3 of the ARDSP was therefore designed to upgrade the quality of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), make it more in line with the needs of employers and ensure there is greater access to TVET skills in the Albertine Region. This component is further sub-divided into two sub-components that have been designed to improve institutions in the Albertine Region and establish a Mechanism for the coordination of skill development in the region.
Sub-Component 3.1: Improving Institutions in the Albertine Region and establishing a Mechanism for the coordination of skills development (US$25m)
Under this sub-component, an Oil and Gas (O&G) Sector Skills Council was to be established to provide a podium for engagement of public and private sector stakeholders to guide and support skills development. Through studies, they were to determine the skills requirements for the region, define national occupational standards, define competencies required and identify the number of people required for the various oil and gas trades/Occupations that have been defined.
This sub-component was also developed to finance civil works, purchase of equipment and relevant facilities for upgrading Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) and Uganda Technical College Kichwamba into Centres of Excellence for Oil and Gas Training and Oil and Gas Construction related Training respectively, in line with the aspirations of the Skilling Uganda Strategy. Through this sub-component, the Ministry of Education and Sports also planned to conduct an assessment to inform the establishment of a new institute in Nwoya. The assessment results would be used to determine the physical infrastructure, equipment specifications, target population, curriculum, as well as staffing and financial requirements for the new Institute.
These Institutions are expected to benefit the region in terms of the skills most required to take advantage of the employment opportunities that will emerge during the development phase of the petroleum Industry.
Sub-Component 3.2: Improving access to relevant skills training programs through the provision of bursaries to people from the region (US$ 2-GOU Financing)
Through the ARSDP, Government planned to establish and roll out a bursary scheme that would address the short-term skills requirements of the Albertine region during the development phase of the petroleum industry. Through a Uganda Government counterpart fund, the ARSDP project would support approximately 600 learners from the region to undergo short term skills training (2-6 months) in accredited institutions, specifically targeting the construction, agro- processing, tourism and hospitality sectors.
To support the administration and management of the bursaries, a Bursary Scheme Task Force would be established. The Task Force would draw representation from MoES, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Oil and Gas Sector Skills Council and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. The Task Force would also draw membership from the ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce, as well as the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. A Bursary scheme Management Agency would also be recruited to support the implementation of the Bursary Scheme.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development is responsible for the overall oversight of the ARSDP project. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) has been established with representatives from all the key ministries and it is responsible for providing policy direction during the implementation of the Project.
The ARSDP is a multi-sectoral project, and as such; the implementation of the Project components rest with the three different institutions in line with their Institutional mandates. Under the Education sector, the implementation of the ARSDP is mainstreamed using the existing institutions established. Specific aspects of the component are being implemented directly by the Oil and Gas Sector skills Council, the Department of The Business, Technical and Vocation Education as well as the Training Institutions.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ALBERTINE REGION SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (ARSDP)
The Government of Uganda is implementing the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project (ARSDP), a multi-sectoral project aimed at improving regional and local access to infrastructure, markets and skills development in the Albertine region.
The implementation of the project rests with three different institutions in line with their Institutional mandates. The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MOLHUD) and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) are responsible for the implementation of component 1 of the ARSDP. They are ensuring there is reliable regional transport infrastructure that will improve connectivity and access within the Albertine Region region and spur growth of other sectors like agriculture, tourism and fishing. Component 2 which is focused on implementing local area development for orderly and planned growth and improvements in infrastructure and services, rapidly urbansing centers in the region, is implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED).
Component 3 of the ARDSP is implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), it was designed to upgrade the quality of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), make it more in line with the needs of employers and ensure there is greater access to TVET skills in the Albertine Region.
This was to be achieved through financing upgrade of Institutions that support the aspirations of the skilling Uganda Strategy namely; Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK), Uganda Technical College Kichwamba (UTC Kichwamba). The project was also to establish a third new Institute in Nwoya District. The upgrade of these institutions was to include provision of physical infrastructure and goods, curricula development, retooling of instructors among others. These was meant to enable the provision of skills most required for regional employment opportunities and growth in general.
The ARSDP Project became effective on 1st July 2014 and was due for completion on 30th June 2018. However, an extension was provided to enable completion of project activities. The closure date for the ARSDP project was therefore extended to 29th January 2021. Throughout the five years of implementation, the Ministry of Education and Sports has been able to realise significant achievements.
In the quest to transform Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) and Uganda Technical College Kichwamba into Centers of Excellence and internationally accredited and recognised authorities for Oil and Gas Training and Oil and Gas Construction related training respectively, the ARSDP Project has enabled a nmber of milestones to be realised in this direction. The two colleges have been twinned (partnered) with recognised international TVET training Institutions that have been able to support them to develop 9 new, Competency Based Oil and Gas related courses, define new workshops as well as equipment reqirements that are required for the delivery of the new courses.
UPIK and UTC Kichwamba have recruited new teaching staff, most of whom are undergone training to deliver the new curricula. The Instructors have been earmarked to conduct benchmarking visits overseas for learning and improvement of their teaching competencies. Construction of new workshops and procurement of equipment, tools and consumables for purposes of delivery of the new curricula is in advanced stages.
The two institutions have undergone high level appraisal by Internationally recognised accreditation Institutions namely; City and Guilds and Offshore Petroleum Training Organization (OPITO) in the case of UPIK and City and Guilds for UTC Kichwamba. UPIK successfully became an accredited center for City and Guilds certification in 2018. Subsequently, another assessment is being planned by City and Guilds to enable the Institution to upgrade or maintain its accreditation status. UPIK applied for OPITO accreditation and following recommendations for improvement in a number of areas, UPIK has addressed these issues and is now readying itself for physical confirmation of their readiness for accreditation by OPITO. UTC Kichwamba has also closed a number of gaps is now awaiting re-assessment to become a City and Guilds accredited Center for Oil and Gas construction related training.
A thorough assessment was conducted under the project, and upon validation and confirmation of the findings, the Ministry developed a costed Institutional Development Plan (IDP) for the establishment of a National Institute for Agro-processing in Nwoya. With all the paperwork in place, the Ministry has now advanced towards developing designs for the construction of the Institute. At the end of the ARSDP project, it is anticipated that priority infrustracture, human resources, equipment and tools will be in place for official operationalisation of the Institute by 2022.
The ARSDP project also enabled the implementation of a comprehensive selection process, through which 1091 Residents of the Albertine Region were selected to benefit from the Albertine Region Bursary Scheme. It is a matter of time before the beneficiaries undergo the trainings since three internationally accredited Institutions have already been selected to deliver the trainings.