US State Department | Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration | Julieta Valls Noyes
Notes on Humanitarian Aid for Africa
July 15, 2022
Prime Minister’s Office
(As prepared for delivery)
Minister Onek, thank you for those kind words. I am grateful to you and, in particular, to Minister of State Esther Anyakun for the gracious hospitality that my team and I have enjoyed this week in Uganda. I am also grateful to Ambassador Natalie Brown, Regional Refugee Coordinator John Barbian, and everyone at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala for the extraordinary effort that has gone into planning and managing of this visit. It was an amazing experience.
For decades, the government and people of Uganda have had a touching history of generosity to those who have fled catastrophic violence, persecution and war. And as I witnessed firsthand this week, even in the face of daunting challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and deteriorating security conditions at its borders, Uganda has not wavered in its commitment to accommodate the most vulnerable. As a daughter of refugees myself, I appreciate the generosity of nations that provide safe haven to those in need.
But I have also seen and heard clearly that the refugee response in Uganda is very extensive, even as the demands continue to increase. I am proud that the United States remains the largest donor country to the refugee response in Uganda and the largest donor to UNHCR in Uganda and around the world – but we must do more. We all need to do more.
And so I have the honor to announce that [in addition to the funds announced by Ambassador Brown $21 million] My country will also soon provide nearly $571 million in humanitarian aid to forcibly displaced and persecuted people across Africa. This includes people affected by crises in Ethiopia, the Sahel and other new and protracted emergencies across the continent.
Across this continent, critical humanitarian crises are under-recognized and face severe funding constraints. This assistance from the United States Government will enable our humanitarian partners to help more than seven million refugees and asylum seekers across Africa, as well as more than 25 million internally displaced people.
More than $61 million of this funding is specifically for Uganda, in addition to funds we have already provided to UNHCR and other partners for their work here. These funds will cover the work of UNHCR and partner organizations to date and ongoing programs that save and change lives. These include projects related to education, health, livelihoods and the protection of the most vulnerable. We are pleased to continue our long history of working together to meet the needs of refugees here in Uganda. This funding will give our partners the flexibility to meet the changing needs of refugees here and also to support host communities.
As I have already said, I saw up close during my visit that the needs are great. But also opportunity. I heard this week from students whose career aspirations range from electrician to CEO to prime minister – aspirations made possible by our help and Uganda’s compassion. I have heard of volunteer health workers asking only for rubber boots and torches so that the rain and darkness do not interfere with their essential community interventions. I have heard from parents – including three parents who had babies in the past week – that their infants have survived neonatal distress thanks to the operations we fund.
But food ration cuts, challenges caused by COVID, rising teenage pregnancies and other stresses have had devastating effects. Again, we have to react. The United States has done and continues to do its part. I join the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, who is also traveling to Africa this week, to call on our partner nations and organizations, multilateral development banks and international financial institutions, as well as the private sector to increase their donations to meet these pressing needs.
There is no greater privilege than representing the American people, whose generosity makes possible the assistance I announced today. On their behalf, I thank you for your hospitality this week and for making such good use of the funds they have provided.