Britain says it has given Uganda 390 million pounds to expand health and education services in order to tackle extreme poverty. Although the east African country relies on foreign aid to fund about a third of its annual budget, it is close to commercial oil production, which could help it raise revenues and end a love-hate relationship with donors.
Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) said in a statement late on Wednesday that the health sector offers opportunities for intervention to save the lives of the vulnerable. Western donors have since last year repeatedly threatened to cut aid to Uganda to force the government to stem escalating corruption and address human rights violations.
In what was seen as a defiant gesture, however, President Yoweri Museveni recently elevated Amama Mbabazi, a former security minister who has been named in multiple corruption scandals, to the post of prime minister. DFID said Uganda must adhere to principles of “respect for human rights and demonstrating concrete action on corruption and waste”.
Analysts say the imminent flow of petrodollars has handed Museveni new leverage and allowed him to shrug off donor pressure without the risk of punitive aid cuts.