Statement by IMF Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Kato at the Conclusion of an Official Visit to UgandaPress Release No. 07/204
September 25, 2007
Mr. Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made the following statement today in Kampala:
"This is my first visit to Uganda as Deputy Managing Director of the IMF. I am grateful for this opportunity, and want to thank President Yoweri Museveni, Minister of Finance Ezra Suruma, Central Bank Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, and the other Ugandan officials I met for their gracious hospitality. Indeed, my sincere thanks go to everyone I met for very frank and open discussions.
"Uganda is one of several African countries that have been hit particularly hard by recent torrential rains and ensuing floods that have claimed many lives. I offered my sincere condolences for the large loss of life from these floods, and for the hundreds of thousands who have been adversely affected by this catastrophe. Of course, my words cannot ease the pain of this tragedy, but I know that the people of Uganda are resilient, and am confident that they will recover in due time.
"I came to Uganda primarily to lend an attentive ear—to hear directly from policy makers and others about their priorities, and how they feel the IMF can help realize them. I spent valuable time in discussions with the private sector, members of Parliament, and representatives of Ugandan civil society to get a sense of the range of opinions in this country. I also met with donor community representatives.
"I also participated in a regional workshop for economic policy-makers from the East African Community. I had very fruitful discussions and was able to benefit from their very valuable perspectives on cross-cutting regional issues.
"While in Kampala, I also had the pleasure of visiting the Children of Uganda orphanage. The orphanage works with local non-governmental organizations in the country to provide education and support to over 700 orphans and vulnerable children, allowing them to move toward successful and productive lives. Many of these children have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, and some are HIV positive themselves. The IMF continues to support the Children of Uganda. With their talented singing and dancing performances, which they periodically take on the road internationally, these children are wonderful goodwill ambassadors for Uganda's 1.4 million orphans.
"At my meeting with President Museveni, I congratulated him on his country's steady progress over the last twenty years. We had a productive discussion on Uganda's economic outlook, and the challenges to be met as the country strives to meet the Millennium Development Goals, achieve lasting reductions in poverty, and increase economic growth. We also discussed ways in which the private sector can take the lead in providing more jobs for Ugandans.
"I thank Uganda's economic team, led by Minister Suruma and Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, for constructive discussions. The IMF fully supports the government's economic program, which addresses Uganda's continuing goal of bolstering economic growth and reducing poverty by maintaining macroeconomic stability and addressing the country's infrastructure needs. I share the government's view that this program will continue to encourage private sector development and address obstacles to growth that are well recognized: limited electricity supply, a poor transportation network, a weak financing system, and a high cost of doing business. We agreed that government operations must be efficient and transparent to ensure that aid and tax revenue are dedicated to their most productive use. We also agreed that improving education, health care, and infrastructure will make it possible for more and more Ugandans to reap the benefits from sustained economic growth.
"I am impressed by the commitment of President Museveni, his economic team, and the many people I met here to forcefully tackle Uganda's challenges. With such dedication and sound policies, Uganda will be able to improve its already impressive performance, and advance toward the realization of the Millennium Development Goals. The IMF is committed to working with Uganda to bring these goals to fruition."