Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Uganda: State of the Nation Address 2015

By Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda

Madam Speaker,
In fulfillment of the Constitutional requirement under Article 101 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, I am here to deliver the State of the Nation Address, 2015 mainly to give accountability on particular Government commitments and to appraise you of the plans and strategies for the next twelve months.

Madam Speaker and Honourable Members of Parliament, on the 11th of June 2015, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, will present to this August House and the entire nation, the Budget for FY 2015/2016. He will also detail what has been achieved and what we intend to achieve in the coming Financial Year. On this occasion, I would like to re-emphasize a point I have made repeatedly before.

I will begin with the saying: “Baleka bye basanidde okukola, nebakola byebatasanidde kukola, n’amazima tegali mubo ─ “They left undone what they ought to have done and did that they ought not to have done and there is no truth in them”.

This is in the Church of Uganda Prayer Book on page 10; and also in the Book of Matthew Chap: 23:23. It says in the Bible: “…Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone”. Verse 24 says: “….. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel…”.

All this means that you concentrate on peripheral issues but neglect the much more fundamental issues.

This is the greatest challenge leaders over the ages face. To distinguish the core issues from the peripheral ones or even to prioritize among priorities.

In the last 50 years, the NRM and its precursors ─ USARF (University Students African Revolutionary Front), FRONASA, UPM, the Anti-Vietnam War Solidarity Committee, PRA (Popular Resistance Army), NRA, etc., have been fighting against this disorientation ─ the disorientation of failing to prioritize and trying to be everywhere and ending up being nowhere. Trying to do everything and ending up doing nothing.

Where we successfully resist such disorientation, we make good progress. Since 2006, we started resisting the mistake of spending on consumption before we spend on development and wealth creation. We were also able to prioritize among priorities. By doing so, just relying on Uganda Government money, even if you put aside projects supported by outsiders, the following have been achieved:

1. Electricity transmission lines are now 1,627 kms compared to 1,427 kms in 2006; on the power distribution lines, the medium voltage (33KV and11KV), is now a total of 15,178 kms compared to 6,245 kms we had by 2006. The low voltage distribution lines connecting electricity to consumers is now about 18,000 kms compared to 8,448 kms in 2006;

2. US$ 338.4 million of the Energy Fund that we put down as our contribution to Karuma hydro-power dam and Isimba hydro-power station;

3. We have boosted the budget of the Ministry of Works from Shs. 374.15 billion in 2006 to Shs. 3,328.79 billion today per annum; and

4. We have been able to put Shs. 170 billion in the Science Innovation fund as well as funding UIRI.

This prioritization has completely changed the image of Uganda. On the side of electricity transmission, we have now connected or are in the process of connecting all the district towns except for Kaabong, Nwoya, Buvuma and Kotido. 

 If you were to go back to 1986, as the base year, 33 towns which constitute headquarters of the current 112 districts had no electricity. The remaining district towns of Nwoya will be connected in December, 2016, while Buvuma will be connected in June, 2017. This is on the side of electricity transmission. On the side of electricity generation, by the time Karuma and Isimba as well as the mini-hydro stations of Kikagati (16MW), Mitaano (2.9 MW), Lubilia (5.4MW), Nyagak III (4.5 MW), Siti (21.5 MW), Waki (5.4 MW), Rwimi (10.54MW), Ndugutu (0.5mw), Nkusi (4.8MW), Nyamwamba (9.2MW), Neengo Bridge (6.5MW), Esia (0.11MW), Muziizi (44.5MW Peak Power), Nshungyezi (38MW), Ntono (2.5MW), Sindoro (5.6MW), Aswa-Agago (88MW), Kakaka (7.2MW), Muvumba (4.5MW), Muyembe (3.2MW), Kyambura (8.3MW), Maziba (1.0 MW), Solar power (20 MW) and additional electricity from bagasse at Kinyara (25MW) that are in the pipeline of being constructed, are completed, our generation capacity will be at 1974 megawatts. 

This is as compared to 1986 when the generation only stood at 60mgws. This is, of course, still far too small if, for instance, you compare with UK that is generating 55,000mgws. However, I am rightly excited if you bear in mind our starting point in 1986 of only 60mgws as pointed out above. When our oil starts flowing in the year 2018 or if we can get funding that is not borrowing, we are going to build the additional electricity generating capacity at Ayago (840 MW), Oryang (392 MW), Uhuru (350 MW), Kiba (300 MW), Albatros thermal plant (50 MW) and Murchison Falls (700 MW). This will give Uganda a capacity of 4356 MW.

We have also agreed with the American company known as AAE Systems Inc to explore and develop another 300MW of electricity from the geo-thermal potential of Uganda (ebitagata) in the Katwe area of the Rwenzori region.

The only little mistakes in the electricity sector are two. One is in connection with Bujagali. Unlike in the case of AES (remember the young man Mr. Wright) where they had agreed to develop Bujagaali at US$ cents 4.9 per unit, in the subsequent agreement with Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL), our people, unfortunately, agreed to the electricity generation cost of US$ cents 10.1. 

They say that it was on account of the expensive money the developers used and the high cost of construction materials (steel, oil) at the time of building the dam. This distorts the price of electricity. We are going to engage the developers to find ways of refinancing this project. With our oil money, this should be no problem. However, even before our oil money, we may be able to get cheaper money to pay off this expensive money borrowed by the developers. This mistake should never be repeated. The cost of generation for Karuma, for instance, is going to be 5 US cents per unit.

The one for Isimba is going to be US$ cents 4.8 per unit. That is how things should be. The price for electricity from the geo-thermal is going to be US$ cents 8 per unit. We have taken the decision that for manufacturing, the price of electricity should not exceed US$ 5 cents per unit. Other electricity users, such as those in the services sector like the trans-night goers or the grasshopper catchers or those who use electricity for merely lighting, can pay slightly higher prices. 

Factories, however, need to pay low prices because manufacturing is very competitive globally and yet it creates more jobs, adds value to our raw-materials and, therefore, earns more money for our country and consumes utilities; by creating employment, it widens the tax base, etc. etc. Low cost electricity which is reliable only competes with low cost transport in facilitating industrialization. Factories in South Korea, China and Ethiopia buy electricity at US$ 7 cents per unit, US$ 8 cents per unit and US$ 4.5 cents per unit respectively. Selling electricity to factories at 11 US$ cents per unit is not serious.

The other mistake is the level of electricity losses in transmission. Under Uganda Electricity Board (UEB), the losses were about 34%. With Umeme, the agreement says that they should reduce the losses to 14.7% by 2018. I am, however, not satisfied with this because when I visited South Korea, I found that the losses there were only 4%. Why can we not achieve that target?

On the issue of the roads, as you all can see and as you are aware from communication availed earlier, by using our own funds and some funds from outside, plans are either in execution or are in the pipeline for all the major roads to be constructed. Even the Rwenkunyu-Masindi Port-Apac-Lira-Kitgum road, for which we had failed to secure funding, the Islamic Development Bank has accepted to provide the funds. The road upgrading works and construction is expected to commence at the end of 2016. The lists of these roads, to be upgraded from murram to bitumen, have been published before. They are attached to this speech as an appendix.

On the side of Scientific Innovation, we have supported the Banana project with Uganda shillings 78 billion, Dr. Kyamuhangire’s banana juice project with Shs 1.3 billion, Kiira project of the electric car with Shs. 27.7 billion., UIRI with Shs. 14.24 billions. There are very many innovations or transferred technology by our scientists. 

The only limitation, as yet, are these funds. After we have dealt with the roads and electricity, we shall decisively support this effort. Our scientists can do anything. They just need funding which will come in due course. Although we are tackling the priorities of the roads and electricity for now, we have, at least, made that modest start.

The other cost pusher for producers and manufacturers is transport. Right from the time the British built the railway in 1902, no other effort has ever been made in that direction. Yet, the cost of transport adds ─ 25% to the cost of a good while electricity at current prices adds 14%. The two account for 39% of the cost of the good. In countries like China, transporting a container of goods from Shanghai to Peking is US$ 1,500. Here, transporting the same container of goods by road from Mombasa to Kampala, costs US$ 2,100.

Therefore, in order to make our economy competitive, we have decided, together with Kenya, to build a modern Standard Gauge Railway. The Government of China agreed to help us. That will reduce the cost of transporting goods to US$1,650 per container.

Another damage to the economy and the people would have been insecurity. However, the UPDF has ensured total peace in the whole country by defeating Kony, defeating ADF and disarming the Karimojong warriors. There is now total peace in the whole length and breadth of Uganda. The only residual nuisance is ordinary crime such as murder, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, etc. Apart from the normal police methods, we need to build modest infrastructure to cope with this problem. Such infrastructure would, for instance, include CCTV cameras in the major towns, starting with Kampala. Such infrastructure, would make the work of the Police in detecting and apprehending criminals much easier. We are in the process of solving that problem. As of now, we are still using the old police methods of eye-witnesses, etc., that are slow or not conclusive.

Otherwise, Uganda is one of the most peaceful countries anywhere on the globe. Managing successfully the huge numbers of people at Namugongo yesterday, on the Martyrs’ day celebrations, goes to prove that point if any proving is necessary.

The other cost pusher for products is the cost of capital ─ borrowed money. We privatized our Government Bank, Uganda Commercial Bank (UBC), in order to bring down these interest rates. Yet, the interest rates are still high, at 20.1% per annum. Compare this with the cost of capital in South Africa 13.05%, South Korea 3.4% and the USA 5.97%. Now that the route of privatizing UCB did not solve this problem, we are going to take another route, the route of capitalizing Uganda Development Bank (UDB). We have already invested Uganda Shillings 128 billion in the UDB. After the coming elections, in the following financial year, we plan to invest an additional Ug. Shs. 500 billion so that that Bank can lend to manufacturing, business and agriculture at prime rates of not more than 15% interest rate if one assumed inflation to be at 5% per annum or less as it has been most of the previous years.

Emphasizing these five areas ─ the roads, electricity, the railway, defence and security and the cost of capital, does not mean that we forgot other areas. Scientific innovation is a stand-alone element of capacity building. In the area of ICT, for instance, when I visited China some years ago, I agreed with the Huawei Company to build the ICT backbone.

I linked them to the concerned authorities inside Uganda. As we speak today, the following towns have already been linked by the ICT backbone: Kampala, Entebbe, Bombo, Nakasongola, Gulu, Masindi, Nimule, Lira, Soroti, Kumi, Mbale, Tororo, Busia, Jinja, Mukono, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Fort Portal and Hoima. The other towns, such as: Masaka, Mutukula, Kabale and Katuna will be linked in the financial year 2015/2016. With our neighbours in Kenya and Tanzania doing the same and the extending of the undersea cable to Dar-es-Salaam from Cape Town and to Mombasa from Aden, it means that the cost of making telephones will reduce from the average of 300 shillings per minute to 200 shillings and below. We shall shift from using satellite linked telephones to the ICT backbone and undersea cable linked telephones that are much cheaper.

This brings the cost reducer elements to namely: the roads, electricity, the railway, defence and security, the cost of capital and, the cost of ICT transmission. These achievements in the roads’ sector, in the electricity generation and transmission and supporting scientific innovation were made possible because we were able to distinguish between a “gnat” and a “camel” ─ to distinguish between the core and the peripheral, to distinguish between the primary and the secondary. 

We were even able to prioritize among the priorities. Otherwise, depending on donor funding only, we would have done 1,228 kms of the roads, but Government spending added another 1,200 kms and for those under construction, donors are financing only 250 kms and Government 1,214kms. Donors will finance only 683 kms and Government 797 kms for the projects which are in the pipeline. Besides, even for the donor funded projects, there is counterpart funding and land compensation financed by Government, which constitute 30-40% of the project costs. On electricity transmission/distribution, we would only have covered 9,178 kms instead of the 15,178 kms. This confirms the wisdom of the Banyankore proverb that says: “egabo yakyeeri, togiheera mwaana bubazi” ─ “you cannot give a laxative to a child and hope to resuscitate him/her with drinks from the neighbour. What if the neighbour does not have the fluids?” The answer is clear ─ the child will die from dehydration. You cannot fail to plan and prioritize your own resources and only depend on external funding.

As pointed out above, supporting Scientific Innovation is not necessarily a cost reducer but it is an element of capacity building so as to take advantage of our educated people ─ the result of the human resource development ─ to build the industrial and research base of our country. They have the capacity to modernize our economy by themselves. That is why I, recently, created a new department of Science and Technology in the Ministry of Education and Sports. They should coordinate all that effort of giving support to our scientific innovators who have, hitherto, been handled by the Ministry of Finance which, understandably, has got alot of work. There is nothing they cannot do if they are supported. They have the knowledge, they lack the money.

The Soviet Union had used this approach between 1917 and 1950 when the Korean war broke out. In that short period of 33 years, by supporting their scientists, the oppressive atmosphere of Stalin notwithstanding, the Soviet Union was able to transition from a pre-industrial, feudal country to a modern industrial one that was almost solely responsible for the defeat of fascist Germany, relying on its just acquired industrial and technological capacity, thanks to its scientists.

Up to today, the names of those scientists are engraved in the designations of the products they pioneered. The Mig-series of jet planes stand for the names of their designers ─ Mikoyan and Guriyevich; Sukhoi for Pavel Sukhoi (1939); Ilyushin for Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin (1933); Tupolev for Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev (1922); Kalashnikov for Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the famous rifle in the year 1949. With the infrastructure we are building, with the peace we have achieved and with our scientists, we are on a steady march to modernization. At this pace, Uganda will become a middle income country (lower middle income) by the year 2018/19. By 2040, Uganda will be an upper middle income country.

I do not like the arrogance and carelessness of some MPs who do not show respect and appreciation to these geniuses of our country. The careless and sometimes insulting manner in which the scientists are interrogated as if they are criminals in court, when they are appearing before Parliamentary Committees, is unacceptable. 

There are four elements all of you must understand. There is research, there is innovation, there is incubation and, then, there is fine tuning the incubation products. All these are being done by our scientists on their own. Then there is the commercialization plan where the economics must come in. Why would any reasonable Ugandan expect the scientists to do all these by themselves? If he or she has done the research and the innovation, you do the rest. What are you ─ the civil servants and the political leaders ─ for? It is abuse of power to use Parliament to throw aspersions on bona-fide contributors, especially of the caliber of our scientists. I am glad you approved the money for the banana project. Otherwise, I was on the verge of donating this project to other African countries that have leaders who care more.

To help us along, fortunately, we have recently attracted very useful investors after a long and arduous struggle. Some time ago, we had achieved a break through when we attracted a capable milk processor, Sameer company, to help us cope with our huge potential in that sector. Sameer, by leasing the under-utilized Government little facility of 15,000 litres per day, has been able, in the last 11 years, to push that production to 150,000 litres per day. 

The artificial glut of milk that had been created has now been converted into more demand for milk from the increasing number of factories. Apart from the factories that merely pasteurize the milk to preserve it and separate the traditional products of ghee, butter, yoghurt (amakamo), fresh milk (amashununu), cheese (evaporated machunda), we now have factories such as Amos dairies, that crack the whole milk and get separate proteins such as Casein, which is used in human medicine and exported to the USA. Milk production jumped from 200 million litres per annum in 1986 to almost 2 billion litres today. We should push this to 20 billion litres per annum by ensuring, through Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), that each of the 6 million Ugandan rural families has, eventually, slowly by slowly, 6 high yield milk cows able to give 20 litres per day per cow. 

If only 2 cows are milking at a time, that will mean 87 billion litres per annum. The global demand of milk is 603.9 billion litres (625 million metric tonnes) per annum. The cattle population would go to 36 million compared to our present population of 13 million, itself being a big advance from the 3 million cattle of 1986. This commercialization of the ancient domestic product of milk in 1989, gave opportunity for my late father, Mzee Amosi Kaguta, at that time 73 years of age, to fully join the money economy and, therefore, graduate from subsistence, traditional farming to commercial farming. By that fact and by the volumes of the money his colleagues and himself were earning on a daily basis, they had metamorphosed into the middle class. Their huge but under-utilized wealth in terms of land and cattle had, at last, joined the modern age of wealth through money.

Some Ugandan families had joined commercial coffee growing in the colonial era, different from the traditional coffee for chewing. Indeed, Uganda has been producing 4 million bags, of 60 kgs, per annum for a long time.

Out of this, Uganda earns US$ 400 million per year. The NRM is now, however, up-scaling the industry of coffee to new heights. First, we want all the old 220 million coffee trees to be replaced by the new ones that produce four times more coffee than the old ones. By simply doing this, coffee production in Uganda will go from the present 4 million bags per annum to 20 million bags, overtaking all the other coffee producing countries except for Brazil. At present prices, that will bring in US$ 2 billion instead of the present US$ 400 million. However, it is not just the replanting that we are doing. New areas that never grew coffee before, such as the North, are now joining in growing coffee. The yields will, therefore, exceed my target of 20 million bags.

There is something much more we are doing for coffee. After endless trials and disappointments of trying to help your country break out of the modern slavery of producing raw materials where the coffee growing country earns less than US$ 1 per kg but the countries processing coffee will get US$ 10 per kg, 10 times more than we the coffee growers, we are now finally succeeding.

That has been the same for cotton, for minerals, etc. This is where the under-development has been. We export money (ten times more than we get), we export jobs, we export taxes and, of course, we export the nutrients of our soils (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, etc.) and do so for peanuts. This has been the basis of colonialism and neo-colonialism. This is a situation we had to get out of. I was even beginning to think of bringing back the parastatals to do this job. Fortunately, however, we are beginning to get big successes. In coffee, we have, at last, got a serious investor, Vinci, who will add value here to 60,000 tonnes of our coffee. That 60,000 tonnes will bring in US$ 600 million per annum.

As if by coincidence, we also got a serious investor for adding value to cotton, the Fine Spinners Company. That company will process 10,000 bales of cotton into finished garments and will bring in US$ 23 million per annum. We have also got a big meat processor, up in Bombo, the first modern meat packers after the collapse of the meat packers in Soroti.

In this way, commodity by commodity, we shall end the slavery of exporting raw materials. There are now 28 tea factories in Uganda processing 60 million kilogrammes of tea per annum, up from the 23 million kgs of 1971 and the 3 million kgs of 1986. Kilembe mines is being repaired to produce, not the old blister copper which is 94% pure, but, to produce the cathodes that are 99% pure and can be used straight into making electric cables and other applications. We are sourcing for people to build a steel industry using the Kanungu-Kabale iron ore and the gas of Mwitanzigye (Lake Albert). We commissioned the start of the construction of the fertilizer, steel and sulphuric acid plants at the Sukuru hills near Tororo. We are handling the requests of those that are interested in the Moroto cement, using the 300 million metric tonnes of ore, much bigger than the 23 million tonnes of Hima. The dams, the railway, the construction industry, all need this steel and this cement.

The North of Uganda is going to be the industrial heart of Uganda. At the beginning of my speech, I enumerated the numerous power projects that are either being planned or are already being implemented. These are: Karuma, Ayago, Kiba, Uhuru, Oryang, Murchison Falls, Agago Falls, etc. All these are either in the North or on the boundary between Bunyoro and the North. Grain milling factories have come up in Nwoya as has large scale farming. A sugar factory, although delayed, is coming up in Amuru. Another one, without any controversy, is coming up in Atiak. You have seen clusters of factories in Mukono, in Luwero (Kapeeka, Semuto, Sanga). All these are, mainly, factories based on agro-processing.

I have referred to Kilembe, Kanungu, Sukuru and Karamoja above in respect of Copper Cathodes, Steel and fertilizers and cement respectively. That is not all the minerals. There is gold; at some point, we shall need a gold refinery so that we have gold ready to be turned into the jewellery industry. Why should we export unprocessed gold and, then, our daughters have got to buy back the jewellery at many times the value we got for our gold? There is coltan, wolfram, tin, Aluminium clays, etc, etc.

These clusters of industries, growing around our natural products (agricultural or mineral) are the medicine to unemployment, to low forex earnings and high import Bill, to a narrow tax-base, etc.

All these are on the assumption of low costs of electricity that is reliable, low cost of transport and low cost of capital. Of course, we also need entrepreneurs if we are to avoid the route of parastatals. Therefore, developing a consensus for prioritizing infrastructure has been crucial for our future or contemporary prosperity. I salute the steadfast members of the NRM Caucus that supported my plan in 2006, of prioritizing among priorities, when I introduced it to them at Statistics House.

All I have said above, does not include petroleum and gas. Our petroleum plan is to build a 60,000 barrel per day, refinery, expandable to 120,000 barrels per day. Apart from getting our own petroleum, diesel and kerosene for aviation fuel, the residuals will feed the petro-chemical industries so as to produce plastics, fertilizers (again, but from another source) and pharmaceuticals.

Some of the oil will be exported through the pipeline. Even if we are to sell only 120,000 barrels per day, according to a price of US$60 per barrel, that will give Uganda an additional income of about US$ 3 billion. This money will be dedicated to infrastructure, science innovation and some of the high level science education institutions. It is considerable. We have been doing so much with so little. What will happen now that we are getting quite abit of additional money?

This time, I will not talk so much on the story of the commercialization of agriculture. I have, in the past, talked alot on that. May I end by talking abit on the wood and fibres sectors. Alot of products can be made from wood given our soft and hard woods. Apart from timber, there are many traditional products made out of wood that should be made and promoted. There are wooden plates (entaatika), milk pots (ebyaanzi), wooden spoons (endosho), combs (ebishunshura), flour mingling clubs (enyiko), etc. etc. All these are very long lasting. The youth who are making them should be encouraged.

I am confident to promote all these production efforts because I am sure there is a sure market (national, regional and international). The regional market, through integration. The international markets through negotiations.

On the side of politics, there is no problem because everything is provided for in the Constitution. Let leaders show the way and not attempt to carry the population. Just explain Government programmes and help implement them. You will get credit without cost to yourself.

It is now my pleasure to declare the 5th Session of Parliament open.

I thank you.
4th June, 2015 UICC, Serena

Friday, June 5, 2015

Women should be protected online

Cyber policies should be put in place to protect women online

By Esther Nakkazi

It is becoming common practise now, in Uganda, nude video recordings and photos taken in private, spread online like wildfire once a relationship or situations turn sour.

Like almost everywhere in the world, it is the women who suffer most in these scenarios.The most recent prominent case in Uganda, was of musician, Desire Luzinda, with her spurned Nigerian ex-boyfriend. In most African countries, revenge pornography is likely to escalate but it hurts women more and they should be protected.

Revenge pornography happens when a jilted lover gets photos or video recordings taken in private and makes them public. Women also suffer more from ICT violations like cyber stalking, sexual harassment, surveillance, unauthorised use and manipulation of personal information, including images and videos than men.

Why women? They are disproportionately affected, they are more illiterate, poorer and the digital divide is gendered more towards them. Studies show that 82 percent men are literate compared to 64 percent women in Uganda and only 23 percent women have any secondary education.

For instance, a 2008 survey revealed that in Uganda, 9 percent of men knew what the Internet was, while only 4 percent of women were just aware of the Internet.

Although you can argue that technophobia leaves women with only two options of calling and texting on their phones, so they cannot upload harmful data but ignorance also affects them.

Women are also ridiculed and judged harshly by society. They are branded by what they do. Most African countries also lack standards to allow such cases to be reported to Facebook, to pull down the nude videos and photos. They do not have the technological capacity.

Peter Magelah Gwayaka, a human rights lawyer said revenge porn is on the rise in East Africa and in Uganda there is no law to check it. The ignorant victims, who are usually women, suffer quietly. And the laws and society tend to focus on the who not the why?

“We have over concentrated on morals. We tend to forget that it is wrong, no one’s privacy should be put out in public,” said Magelah. 

In the developed world where it happens more frequently, they have the technological capacity to control the distribution so the market is limited to only those who are interested and children have no access.

Very few women also participate in ICT policy making so the policies produced are not balanced and inclusive of women.

Goretti Amuriat, gender and ICT program manager at Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) says although women represent 35 percent of parliamentary seats in Uganda, they are still under represented in positions of authority and this inequality translates into decision making about policy.

Amuriat further said the Ugandan digital divide is a gendered divide, as women are confronted by multi layered set of barriers to accessing ICTs; including working infrastructure, physical mobility and limited affordability.

ICT use can be considered a gendered issue, as technology related violence against women is prevalent says Amuriat and regardless of a group’s geographical, economic, political, or social experience, women experience twice as many challenges to accessing the Internet as men do.

Women’s economic empowerment is a key driver of sustainable development, which is often achieved through gender-specific policy perspectives.

In most of Africa, law enforcers do not even know, which action to take in the absence of the law. It is not unusual for victims of ICT violations to report to police and they laugh it off or say ‘sorry’. If they react, they will charge the victims under the Anti-Pornography Act, 2014. Kenya is putting up a similar law. 

But Magelah said this is not sufficient because it does not charge the perpetrators and the people who pause and ridicule the victim are equally responsible. There is also the little known Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) enacted recently in Uganda, tasked with of tracking cyber crimes.

Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the Unwanted Witness Chief Executive Officer said women should be alerted on the current cyber security issues like how to protect their privacy. Simple actions like activating security codes in their phones would be helpful.

In a meeting organised by the Unwanted Witness and WOGNET in partnership with the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) for women’s day celebrations (March 8th) the ICT and women activists said women use of ICT is crucial to creating balanced ICT policies that are both efficient and sustainable.

They said balancing cyber security and Internet freedom cannot be achieved without including women in policy discussions who bring new voices and experiences to the discussions.

Ssebagala said with many millions of people being online its important for the Uganda government to start thinking what cyber security and Internet freedoms mean for people especially women.

Goretti Amuriat, gender and ICT program manager at Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) said women need more education about putting only safe information online. Some put whole family albums on Facebook and minute-to-minute updates of their activities.

Amuriat cautions that women should put only safe information online. “Women put everything. They are not secure and are not aware,” she said. “Put only what is enough!”

However, that is not to say that going online does not present opportunities to women. It does. With their unique set of interests and needs, they express themselves, communicate with others, find useful information and grow their businesses.

And although women in Uganda may not be a large fraction of the online community today, they matter because of their future potential as Internet users, said Amuriat.

Ashnah Kalemera the program officer for Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) said although there is increased access to ICTs and the Internet there is little to no statistics on ICTs and Gender in Uganda.

Even data from the national regulator on ICT access and usage is often not disaggregated by gender, which inhibits understanding gender disparities of access and control over ICT and designing appropriate ICT initiatives that fully advance gender equality and empowerment said Kalemera.

ICT activists, therefore, call upon government through ICT regulatory agencies to embark on a campaign that would sensitize law enforcement agencies on cyber laws in order to prosecute perpetrators of violence against women online.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Prostate and Cervical cancer incidence on the rise in Uganda

By Esther Nakkazi

The number of new cases of prostate and cervical cancer in Uganda is on the rise. Cases of prostate cancer increased from only 850 to 4,400 from 1990 to 2013 and cervical cancer cases in women increased from 2,000 to 3,400 and it remained the leading cause of cancer deaths in Uganda.

This is according to a new study “The Global Burden of Cancer 2013,” in the journal JAMA Oncology, published on May 28, and conducted by an international consortium of researchers coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Overall, Uganda has a substantial cancer burden, and six out of 10 of the most common cancers there are caused by infectious diseases. Uganda's very high cancer rate is fueled largely by the HIV epidemic and the increasing figures are also due to population growth, which has more than doubled since 19990 and ageing.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, people infected with HIV are several thousand times more likely than uninfected people and HIV-positive women are at least five times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papillomavirus.

“Cancer remains a major threat to people’s health in Uganda and around the world,” said oncologist Dr. Christina Fitzmaurice, a Visiting Fellow at IHME and lead author of the study in a press release. “Controlling cancer will ensure that as life expectancy continues to climb, people’s lives are not just longer but healthier.”

In Uganda, among the leading cancers, the number of new cases of mouth cancer in men was the lowest at 230 in 2013, up from 120 in 1990. Within the top 10 causes of cancer incidence for women, uterine cancer showed the lowest number of new cases at 360 in 2013, up from 210 in 1990 says this study

Concerning the leading causes of cancer death among Ugandans, deaths from prostate cancer were the highest for men, nearly tripling in number to 1,100 in 2013, up from 390 in 1990. Deaths from cervical cancer were the highest for women, nearly increasing from 1,400 in 1990 to 2,300 in 2013 says the study.

Among the top 10 causes of cancer death in Uganda, leukemia led to the lowest number of male deaths in 2013, 180, up from 85 in 1990, and lung cancer resulted in the lowest number of deaths for women at 310 in 2013, up from 170 in 1990.

Uganda differed from most other countries with respect to new cases of prostate and cervical cancers. 

Prostate cancer ranked fourth in the top 10 for incident cases globally but ranked first in Uganda. In addition, cervical cancer was ranked seventh in top incident cases globally but ranked second in Uganda.

Also unlike most countries, Uganda was one of 62 countries in which the age-standardized death rates for all cancers increased rather than decreased between 1990 and 2013.

In 2013, there were 14.9 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths worldwide. The leading cause of cancer incidence for men was prostate cancer, which caused 1.4 million new cases and 293,000 deaths. Lung cancer remained one of the leading causes of incident cancer cases among men between 1990 and 2013, but prostate cancer cases have increased more than threefold during this period due in part to population growth and aging.

For women, similar factors contributed to the global rise in breast cancer incidence. In 2013 there were 1.8 million new cases of breast cancer and 464,000 deaths. Breast cancer has remained the leading cause of incident cancer cases for women between 1990 and 2013, but the number of new cases more than doubled during this period.

Other leading causes of incident cases globally include cervical cancer, up 9% since 1990, lymphoma, up 105%, and colon and rectum cancer, which has increased 92%.

The death toll from cancer is also changing as new cases increase. In 2013 cancer was the second-leading cause of death globally after cardiovascular disease, and the proportion of deaths around the world due to cancer has increased from 12% in 1990 to 15% in 2013.

Lung cancer, stomach cancer, and liver cancer have remained the three leading causes of cancer for both sexes combined during this time period. Lung cancer deaths have increased by 56%, stomach cancer deaths by 10%, and liver cancer deaths by 60%.

Cancer is often seen as a problem primarily in more affluent nations, but the disease is an issue in developing countries as well as developed countries, says the press release. Even though breast cancer remains the leading cause of incident cancer cases for women globally, in developed countries incidence rates have been stable or declining since the early 2000s. The reverse is true in developing countries, where incidence rates are lower but rising faster than in developed countries. 

The rankings for developed and developing countries are largely the same when it comes to number of cancer deaths for both sexes, though there are some notable differences. Cervical cancer ranks seventh in developing countries, compared to 17th in developed countries, and prostate cancer ranks 12th in developing countries but sixth in developed countries.

Cervical cancer has a particularly significant impact in sub-Saharan Africa, where it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in almost two dozen countries in the region, including Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia, and the most common cause of cancer death for women in 40 countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. 

Although cancer is a global phenomenon, countries around the world show important variations. In China, stomach cancer, not breast cancer, is the second-most common cause of cancer death for women. 

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men in United Arab Emirates and Qatar rather than prostate cancer. Mouth cancer, which is not prominent globally, is the second-most diagnosed cancer in India. Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden are the only countries in the world where colon and rectum cancer was the most deadly form of cancer for women.

“The most effective strategies to address cancer will be tailored to local needs,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “Country-specific data can drive policies aimed to reduce the impact of cancer now and in the future.”

Leading causes of cancer deaths in Uganda for both sexes, with the number of deaths, 2013

Cervical cancer
Esophageal cancer
Liver cancer
Other neoplasms
Prostate cancer
Colorectal cancer
Breast cancer
Stomach cancer
Lung cancer

Leading causes of cancer deaths in Uganda for men, with the number of deaths, 2013

Prostate cancer
Esophageal cancer
Liver cancer
Other neoplasms
Colorectal cancer
Stomach cancer
Lung cancer
Bladder cancer

Leading causes of cancer deaths in Uganda for women, with the number of deaths, 2013

Cervical cancer
Breast cancer
Other neoplasms
Esophageal cancer
Liver cancer
Colorectal cancer
Ovarian cancer
Stomach cancer
Lung cancer

Cancer and infection-related malignancies: on the rise in the developing world

The global burden of cancer is estimated to increase by nearly 70 percent by 2030.
More than two-thirds of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
More people die from cancer than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.

Up to 25 percent of the world’s cancers are caused by infectious diseases, with higher percentages in many LMICs compared to high-income countries (approximately 23 percent and 7 percent, respectively); with approximately 33 percent of cancers in sub-Saharan Africa caused by infectious diseases.

Cancers caused by infectious diseases include (but are not limited to) lymphoma from Epstein-Barr virus, sarcomas associated with HIV and liver cancer from hepatitis B and C.