In its 2013-2016 cooperation programme with Uganda, Belgium focuses its activities on education and health. In the education sector, secondary education is the target, especially Business, Technical and Vocational Training and quality teaching and learning. In the health sector the focus lies on strengthening service delivery of basic health care, through the support to the districts and the Private-Non-For-Profit subsector.
Uganda has registered considerable success over the past decade in expanding access to education. However, there are serious quality shortfalls resulting in low learning outcomes.
In 2011, with support from the Belgian Development Cooperation and the World Bank, Uganda designed a new Strategic Plan for Secondary Education and Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) under the name 'Skilling Uganda'. The main aim is to raise standards and expand coverage of training, and to create employable skills and competencies relevant to the labour market instead of educational certificates.
Education became a priority sector for the Belgian Development Cooperation in Uganda in 2008, and ever since the strategic focus is on improving the quality of teaching and learning in BTVET.
The Belgian education portfolio includes both budget support and project support. Since 2010 Belgium is providing budget support earmarked to education (12 million euro). Belgium has committed an additional 14 million euro for education budget support for the period 2013-2016.
In 2012, a new project was launched to improve the quality of teaching in secondary education and BTVET through the support of 4 teacher and instructor colleges in the country (budget 17.5 million euro). Extra funds are available of the amount of 16 million euro for 2 new projects in education, in line with the above mentioned priorities.
Uganda's allocation to the health sector has been rising steadily over the last ten years. However, the proportion of the national budget spent on health did not increase and still averages 9%, well below the Abuja target of 15% set in 2001.
During the past years, the contribution of the Private-Not-For-Profit (PNFP) subsector to the national health system has been bridging the resource gap. The PNFP facilities, which account for over 40% of hospitals, 17% of lower level facilities, and 65% of nurses and midwifery training schools, deliver an estimated 35-40% of all health services to the population, mostly in rural and hard to reach areas.
Belgium will contribute to the implementation of the Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan supporting two priority areas identified by the Ministry of Health:
- District capacity to strengthen decentralisation and primary health care through sector budget support (12 million euro) and the Institutional Capacity Building Project
- Institutional support to the PNFP subsector to increase service delivery and develop a performance based financing mechanism, through project support (8 million euro).
Belgium is a member of the 'Environment & Natural Resources Development Partners Group' and of the 'Thematic Group on Climate Change' in Uganda. Possibilities on co-financing of a climate adaptation project will be examined, for which 3 million euro is planned.
Belgium also explores options for a multi-donor approach and joint funding arrangements to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Skills Development.
A scholarship programme of 8 million euro will be set up. Even though priority areas are not limited to the two concentration sectors (education and health) and environment, these will account for 80% of the programme. At least 50% of the scholarships is reserved for women. An 'Alumni Support Fund' will allow Ugandans to maintain academic linkages with their 'mother' universities in Belgium after studies.
Study and Consultancy Fund
3 million euro is planned for the fund that has proven to be an efficient and flexible instrument aligned with the demands of the partner country.
As the promotion of good governance is a priority for both governments, an incentive tranche of 10 million euro is planned for a possible increase of the cooperation program budget.This will be granted on the basis of improvements in good governance in Uganda.