Press Release

West Nile embraces Agri-LED approach to Sustainable Development

06 March 2021

The West Nile Development Association (WENDA) Annual General Meeting was held at Muni University, Arua City



West Nile political, civil society and private sector leaders yesterday embraced the Agri-LED approach to sustainable development during the West Nile Development Association (WENDA) Annual General Meeting at Muni University, in Arua City.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, H.E. Rosa Malango was the Guest of Honour and delivered the keynote address on the theme "Building Sustainable Peace and Development through Agro- Industrialisation in West Nile: Lessons from Rwenzori and Beyond." The Agro-industrialisation for Local Economic Development (Agri-LED), which is a transformative Presidential Initiative, is an innovative approach to realizing people's aspirations at the local level by focusing on local evidence and prioritizing value-chains based on natural resources.

The meeting was attended the First Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Gen. Moses Ali; Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Kwiyucwinyi, Minister of State for Energy, Hon. Simon D'Ujanga. Vice Chancellor of Muni University, Prof. Christine Dranzoa; WENDA Executive Director, Mr. Moses Akuma Odims; Members of Parliament from West Nile; and UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Head of Office in Uganda, Dr. Dmitry Pozhidaev. “The 15 districts of West Nile are more united than ever before and we are on course to achieve sustainable development,” said Gen. Ali. While Hon. D’ Ujanga revealed that West Nile would soon be connected to the national electricity grid and that electricity lines were already being connected in the region.

Led by Muni University, the findings and recommendations of the research on the social economic challenges in West Nile conducted by WENDA revealed that only 30% of the arable land in West Nile is under productive use and crop yields are below the national average. The study recommended opening up and productively using the arable land through the one-acre model  approach, the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers as well as mechanization. The study also recommended value addition through cooperative arrangements in the region.

In her keynote address Ms. Malango explained the Agri-LED initiative in Rwenzori region as a joint effort by Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and the National Planning Authority (NPA), with whom the UN has collaborated to demonstrate the investment potential of Rwenzori region including the Rwenzori Investment Expo which was held in Fort Portal in January last year where over 200 local businesses and innovations were profiled in seven priority areas. She noted that participants included international delegations from Chine, Lebanon, Germany, Belgium, Kenya, DRC, Tanzania and South Sudan while five business deals were signed. The Expo was opened by His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni and attended by over 3,000 participants from 21 districts. Following the Expo, her office together with OWC, UIA and NPA published the Rwenzori Exhibitors' profiles as part of evidence generation, the first ever consolidated publication on the 194 businesses which exhibited at the Rwenzori expo. In addition, Rwenzori investment profiles were produced in five priority sectors: Agriculture; Infrastructure and services: Tourism: Human Capital Development (education and health); and Extractives and Minerals. Promotional videos of the Rwenzori Investment Profiles were also prepared and can be accessed at and Ms. Malango also provided an overview of UN footprint and investments in the region in support of humanitarian and development, and reiterated the UN commitment to support implementation of SDGs in the region including through Agri-LED.

Ms. Malango welcomed the baseline created through the research by WENDA and recommended prioritization by focusing on 4-5 key economic areas that can kick-start rural economic growth and leverage investment informed by relevant value chains; creating a local enabling environment to attract local and foreign investments into the region by ensuring accountability from parish to District to city and regional levels; ensuring a clear division of labour from the parish to national level to help farmers enhance value addition, create jobs, increase exports, and access to markets; and streamline financing by establishing a Consolidated Inter-Governmental Pooled Fund as a financing instrument for National Vision 2040 and SDGs. She also recommended the establishment of a regional partnership network to monitor progress, encouraged National Initiative for Civic Education in Uganda (NICE-UG) to support the development of civic education program to support mind set change in the region and suggested a strategic discussion including the Government and the UN to ensure the recommendations were feasible in the current global economic environment. She strongly encouraged leaders to factor in the strategic location of West Nile in order to benefit from markets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (newest member of the East African Community) and South Sudan. Ms. Malango also encouraged WENDA members to leverage existing investments in industrial parks already made across the country including the newly established park in Kasese and invited participants to assess modalities to improve post-harvest handling and transport for value-addition purposes.

The meeting appreciated the lessons from the Agri-LED approach in the Rwenzori region and committed to follow the best practices including the involvement of the private sector in their sustainable development plans including maximizing the potential of tourism and establishing an annual expo on opportunities in West Nile.

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UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund

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