Egypt claims 2.2% of Uganda land

AfricaNews | Sunday 28 September 2008

Ali Balunywa, AfricaNews reporter in Almere, the Netherlands

The Uganda government had allocated to Egypt two million acres of land to grow wheat and corn this year, Egypt`s minister of Agriculture revealed. He asserted that the land was in a number of places. Two million acres is equivalent to 2.2% of Uganda`s total area.

It was not clear whether the land was sold or leased freely, Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper quoting the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper cited Minister Amin Abaza as saying.

President Museveni wants to make decisions favouring investors without consultations. He has for example given away land in several prime areas in the city free to foreign investors only to regularize the transactions later.

The monitor approached several executives including the Uganda Investment Authority, the Minister of lands and a number of political executives but they said they have no knowledge of the alleged deal.

However Reuters news agency reported recently that Arab countries, many of them oil rich but largely desert, were seeking large patches of land in fertile Africa to grow food for their populations to stem the increasing food prices.

The claim from Cairo came after Egyptian President Hussein Mubarak visited Uganda - for the first time in his 27 years in power - at the end of July. Members of Parliament on 25 September tasked the government to explain the circumstances under which Egyptians are claiming at least 2 per cent of Uganda’s fertile agricultural land for wheat and corn plantations.

MP Ms Betty Kamya appealed to government as a matter of urgency to explain the agreement with the Egyptians, believed to be in final stages.

Original source: AfricaNews

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