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KAMPALA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has cleared Uganda to start building a nuclear facility for power generation, a visiting top official of the agency said here.

According to a State House statement issued here, Aline Des Cloizeaux, IAEA's director in charge of Nuclear Power for Africa, told Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Monday that IAEA has come up with recommendations for the East African country to start building and production of nuclear power.

"In the first phase, we have concluded that Uganda is ready for the plant. We in the agency, we are ready for all the support through training so that the project becomes reality," she said, adding that the mission of the agency is to help and enable member countries to have a safe and secure plant.

Museveni said Africa is interested in nuclear power (electricity) and not nuclear weapons.

"For us, we want that power for electricity, for agriculture and not for nuclear weapons," he said after receiving a report from IAEA.

"(I) am glad that you are satisfied, that we are doing what is required," Museveni said, adding that the reason Uganda is going for nuclear energy is that the hydropower sources are not sufficient.

Uganda has so far trained 22 people at the level of master's degree in nuclear science. A school is soon to be set up to train lower cadres in the field of atomic energy, according to the ministry of energy.

Sidronius Opolot Okasai, the minister of State for Energy, said Uganda has adopted the IAEA phased approach for the development of national infrastructure for nuclear power.

The approach consists of three phases: phase one, understanding commitments, obligations and resource requirements before embarking on nuclear power project. Phase two, building specialized nuclear institutions and preparatory work toward construction and phase three, managing construction and preparing for commissioning and operation.

Okasai said a nuclear power plant site has already been identified, including the acquisition of land to host the 2,000 MW nuclear power plant. - Xinhua


The Huduma Namba will soon be mandatory for transactions using the hugely popular mobile money platform M-Pesa as well as for other financial operations, the Central Bank of Kenya has said in its National Payments Strategy report for the period 2022-2025.

Soko Directory reports that the principal reason advanced by the central bank is the need to tighten security around digital payments which have surged following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The bank notes that there were about 2.2 billion digital financial transactions in Kenya in 2021.

“The expected rollout of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS commonly known as the Huduma Namba will provide a key impetus to further deepen the adoption, safety and robustness of digital payments…There will be a need for increased vigilance and alertness in a post-COVID payments world to protect systems against increasing cases of cyber-attacks and AML/CBT risks,” a portion of the report reads.

The Huduma Namba has been a subject of controversy in Kenya as many activists have picked holes in the digital ID scheme.


Ugandan elderly to get IDs for social welfare program

Uganda’s National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) says it is working to issue national ID cards to some elderly citizens to enable them have access to the government-run Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE).

As KFM reports, the move will be carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

The country’s State Minister for Elderly Persons’ Affairs, Dominic Mafwabi Gidudu, told reporters at a press conference that the idea is to let seniors easily access government programs intended for them.

The minister mentioned that about 54,000 elderly people do not benefit from SAGE because of a lack of national ID.

A date for registration is yet to be fixed. - Ayang Macdonald,

Egypt s Ambassador to Uganda Ashraf Swailem accompanying First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of African affair Rebecca Kadaga, Minister of energy and mineral resource Ruth Sentamu during the ceremony of handing over the Busia Solar power plant to the Ugandan government on Tuesday. Photo Egyptian embassy in Uganda


Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of African affair Rebecca Kadaga, Minister of energy and Mineral Resources Ruth Sentamu and a representative of Minister of state for Higher of education John Muyungu attended the event, the Egyptian embassy in Kampala reported.

According to the embassy, Uganda’s first deputy prime minister and minister of energy expressed their happiness as well as their deep thanks on behalf of the Ugandan leadership to the president and the government and people of Egypt for this great project, and what it represents in strengthening the strength of the extended bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Ugandan officials praised the Egyptian support for the energy sector in Uganda, which is considered one of the main axes of the Ugandan national strategy for development, adding that they were looking forward to more cooperation with the Egyptian side in the field of energy and others, and studying opportunities for future investments, and ways to maximize the benefit from Busia station project.

Ambassador Ashraf Swailem stated that the Busia solar power plant project in eastern Uganda was a significant addition to the Egyptian projects in the country, where the amount of energy provided by the plant reaches 4 megawatts, which will be connected to the Ugandan national electricity grid to maximize the benefit of other regions from the energy generated from the station.

The ambassador highlighted in his word during the event the important role of the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy which launched the project and signed its agreement with its Ugandan counterpart ministry.

According to Swailem, the Foreign Ministry’s Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development financed the project with USD 6 million.

The solar power plant was implemented by the Arab Renewable Energy Company in cooperation with Giza System Company. The Arab Renewable Energy Company is one of the Arab Organization for Industrialization Companies’ subsidies.

 The Egyptian ambassador in Uganda added that the Busia station project was another example of the great improvement in Egyptian-Uganda relations during the recent period, listing the recent Egyptian projects in the country, which includes the opening of the medical center in Jinja last October and the inauguration of a new phase in joint Egyptian model farm in November and the continuation of the projects carried out by the Egyptian irrigation mission such as removing weeds from Ugandan lakes.

The ambassador explained that the Egyptian support to the plant project in Uganda comes from a belief in the importance of renewable energy to face the repercussions of climate change in Africa and to adapt to it, coinciding with Egypt's presidency of the twenty-seventh session of the UN Conference on Climate Change "COP27", which Sharm El-Sheikh will host next November. - Ahram Online

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