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UGANDA: Sweden cuts funding to Makerere University over Accountability

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Envoy. Mr Per Lingarde, Swedish Ambassador. PHOTO BY DAVID MUKOOZA 


Sweden has stopped funding Makerere University research projects, saying it is time for the Ugandan government to take over the mantle.
Mr Per Lingarde, the Swedish Ambassador, made the announcement during the Makerere University-Sweden Bilateral Research Cooperation annual review meeting for research support to Uganda for 2018/2019 yesterday.
He said research was critical to a country’s growth and development.

“Sweden, being the major funder to research capacity strengthening in Uganda, has consistently raised sustainability issues, which is especially important as the embassy is currently discussing with Makerere on phasing out of the current support,” Mr Lingarde said.
“I am pleased to note that the government of Uganda has now established a budget in the Ministry of Finance for research at Makerere and has allocated Shs30 billion,” he added.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Matia Kasaija, who was meant to address the meeting on behalf of government, did not attend. Neither did he send a representative.
The current programme running from November 2015 to June 2020, funds activities across teaching and service units in a network that includes five Ugandan public universities and 11 Swedish universities/research institutions.

Speaking at the meeting, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere Vice Chancellor, said the withdrawal of funding would impose a heavy burden on the university since the research heavily fed into parameters that boosted its global and continental rankings.
“You can imagine we have been getting funding on average about $10m (about Shs40b) per year and that money just disappears. It is going to affect our research productivity, and might inevitably affect our ranking,” he said.

Prof Nawangwe said the institution will use the remaining two years in the bilateral understanding to find other sources of funding.
“What we need to do is to ensure we use this two-year period to ensure the effects of the support being withdrawn are minimised by applying for more research funding for different categories,” he said.

“There were issues of accountability as some people would not account for the money in time. We overcame that by constant training and retraining. Some people would not complete research on time. And here we would put sanctions like withdrawing the funding,” he added.
Prof Nawangwe said government needs to allocate at least one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product to research.

Government has pooled Shs30 billion to finance Makerere’s Research and Innovations Development effective 2019/2020 financial year.
The head of Makerere’s Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, Prof Buyinza Mukadasi, said: “I challenge you to generate solutions for poverty, unemployment environmental concerns, hunger, poor health services, the ailing education system and alternative energy resources.”

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: October 01, 2019 at 06:45PM

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