Uganda Development Bank Limited Programme
Providing financial resources to support small- and medium-sized projects
Uganda, one of the least developed countries, seeks to promote economic and social development to raise its population standards of living and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Principal among those is to reduce poverty and hunger through the implementation of development strategies aimed at supporting the role of the private sector in the desired development and diversification of income sources. Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDBL) is the only financial institution in the country which specializes in supporting the role of the private sector in development by providing necessary loans, at a relatively low cost, to finance its investments in various economic and social sectors. It also finances projects and provides advisory services necessary to ensure their proper implementation. This advice is based on financially feasible and sound technical grounds and has positive impacts on the country's economy.
The success of the Bank depends on the success of the projects that it will finance. It was therefore necessary for the Bank to have an administrative, technical and financial framework in order to achieve the desired goals.
Towards a Solution
By setting a proper administrative, technical and financial framework, the Bank is able to study and evaluate development projects submitted for financing. This assists in identifying projects of paramount importance to the Ugandan economy and helps in the optimal allocation of scarce financial resources. In addition, installing a proper financial accounting and reporting system promotes transparency and helps in determining responsibility and accountability. This is expected to help in transferring the Bank's experience to other development institutions inside and outside Uganda.
The main objective of UDBL Programme is to promote and finance development in various sectors of the economy, with a particular emphasis on agriculture, industry, tourism, housing and commerce.
UDBL obtains large credits from external financiers such as the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and uses them to finance medium- and long-term projects in the agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, education and health sectors. The Kuwait Fund participates with other development institutions such as the African Development Bank, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development (OFID), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), and the International Trade Organization in implementing the UDBL programme for the 2020–2025 period by contributing around US$20 million. Kuwait Fund’s contribution is extended to the Ministry of Finance in Uganda to support its development programme. The Fund also supported the proper financial and administrative arrangements of the project during the design phase.
In utilizing the loan provided by Kuwait Fund and other development institutions, the UDBL is expected to approve 979 development projects in the amount of US$379 million (37 percent in the primary agriculture and agriculture processing sectors; 24 percent in the manufacturing sector; 8 percent in the education and health sectors; 7 percent in the infrastructure sector; 4 percent in tourism and hospitality; and 20 percent in others). The projects were spread over Central Region (69 percent), Eastern Region (13 percent), Western Region (12 percent) and Northern Region (6 percent). In addition, projects funded by the Uganda Development Bank during 2018 created job opportunities for 77,000 Ugandans, 46 percent of whom were women. It is important to highlight that, although the programme was completed in 2017, the funds provided by the Kuwait Fund together with other development institutions are revolving funds, which continue after the end of the programme.
UDBL ensures its sustainability through sound financial management. The Bank provides concessional loans for carefully studied projects that are economically feasible. The Bank also requires beneficiaries to provide the necessary guarantees to service the loan. This ensures efficient allocation of resources and fund availability.
The idea of UDB can be adopted in any developing country. Other countries can establish development banks and ask development institutions to participate in financing feasible development projects.
In sum, by utilizing a similar administrative, financial and technical framework, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development provided 21 concessional loans in the development banking sector, amounting to US$494 million and benefiting 13 additional countries, including Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bhutan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Tunisia and Yemen. The Kuwait Fund facilitated knowledge sharing by replicating this model and improving on it in its successive interventions. This contributed to creating many job opportunities, providing income and raising the standards of living for citizens of the beneficiary countries, helping them fight hunger and reduce poverty.
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