Uganda seeking $2 billion for South Sudan refugees


Uganda hopes to raise $2 billion in donations at a UN refugee summit next month to fund relief operations for refugees from South Sudan, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said.

The east African country hosts 1.2 million refugees, of which almost 800,000 are South Sudanese who fled the world’s youngest country since the outbreak of civil war.

Rugunda said Uganda faced difficulties in coping with the influx, which ballooned since the latest wave of violence in July.
“The numbers place a huge strain on our already stressed ability to cater for food,” he told a news conference.
“We are hoping we will be able to raise $2 billion from the summit,” he said in Kampala, where the UN-hosted gathering will be held.

The conflict in the oil-producing country began when President Salva Kiir fired his deputy Riek Machar in 2013, two years after the country won independence from Sudan.

The fighting split the country along ethnic lines, spurred hyper-inflation and plunged parts of the nation into famine, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

The latest bout of warfare erupted in July, less than a year after both sides signed a peace pact in 2015.

Rugunda said the money Kampala sought to raise from the summit would fund relief operations for the next twelve months from June.

Uganda has won plaudits for its liberal refugee policy that maintains open borders and allocates land plots to individual refugee families.

Kampala also grants refugees free movement and employment, as well as some public services such as free education and healthcare.

Rugunda said Uganda expected an additional 400,000 refugees to arrive this year “because of the recurring cycles of insecurity and instability in the region.”