By Our Reporter.
Saudi Arabia and Uganda enjoy cordial relations and we are working and we work to protect all foreign nationals working in our country,” he said
Last week, a group of young people demonstrated in front of the Saudi embassy building in Kololo, claiming that their families were being killed and tortured in Saudi Arabia.
“This contradicts the facts. The relationship between our two countries is greater than these small problems. The authorities in Riyad has always taken action where there are genuine complaints of torture. Our government will always protect human rights,” Ambassador Jamal Mohammed Al-Madani
He said there Uganda’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is deep and tied on common interests for the mutual benefit of the two countries and that this is visible in various exchanges of diplomatic visits.
Amb. Mohammed said that his government has supported the launch of the Islamic Development Bank, in which it owns more than 25% and that this intervention has supported Ugandan economy in both government and private sectors.
“Also three development projects worth 300 million dollar have been approved and the tender is expected to be completed in the last quarter of 2022,” the ambassador stressed.
Saudi Arabia national day
Mr Jamal Mohammed Al-Madani, also spoke about the upcoming Saudi Arabian National day that has since 1932 been celebrated annually on September 23rd.
He said that the day will be used to increase cooperation in the fields of defense, economy, science and society.
He added that the nations have worked closely bilaterally in “multilateral arenas on regional and international issues as they share joint membership in the United Nations and the organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), among the membership of international organizations”.
According to the envoy, several mutual visits have helped to strengthen bilateral cooperation against global issues such as terrorism, human rights, refugees and social development.
“The growth of trade between the two countries is expected after the adoption of Saudi Arabian Airlines to officially operate in Uganda,” the Ambassador added.
In November last year, Foreign Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo invited investors from Saudi to explore sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, health, information and communication technology and “expand its import of products from Uganda to include fruits, vegetables, spices, milk and cereals, in addition to the invitation to take advantage of the investment incentives provided”.
Ties between the two countries have also stretched to areas of health where Saudi extended support to Uganda to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
“The state of Uganda benefits from the amount of one billion US dollars being invested in developing African countries implemented by the Saudi African investment program to alleviate the burden of Covid-19 on the African continent,” the envoy stated.
In October 2021, the two countries signed a general agreement on cooperation and a memorandum of political consultation.
“The general agreement on cooperation includes encouraging cooperation between the two countries in the economic, trade, investment, educational, artistic, cultural, media, tourism, youth and sports fields, and it also opens up prospects for concluding bilateral agreements specialized in areas of interest to the two countries,” Al-Madani said.
Currently, Uganda has about 200,000 migrant workers working in Saudi Arabia and there is an agreement signed between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Uganda on employment. “This agreement is subject to development, evaluation and review.”
Locally as Al-Yaom-ul-Watany Saudi Arabian National day is celebrated on September 23rd every year. It marks the September 23rd 1932 King Abdulaziz announcement of the unification of the country as a kingdom.
Since Pre-Islamic times, the Arabian peninsula had been occupied by nomadic tribes. The Islamic prophet, Muhammad united these tribes to create a single Islamic religious state. In the years following his death in 632, the territory under Muslim rule rapidly expanded across the middle east, from Spain in the west to parts of the Indian subcontinent in the east.
In the 16th century, the region first came under the control of the Ottoman Empire and although various sultanates would be formed from time to time, it wasn’t until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World war I that modern Saudi Arabia emerged.
Ibn Saud (the son of Abdul Rahman bin Faisal who had been the last ruler of the ‘Second Saudi State’), became the Sultan of Najd, the central region of Arabia in 1921.
Walusimbi speaks out
Meanwhile ambassador Abbey Walusimbi has said that Uganda has over 600,000 migrant workers in the Middle East a majority of whom work in Saudi Arabia but that out of the 200.000 in Saudi Arabia, those who may be suffering are less than 5%, which means that our sisters and brothers are doing a good job.
Walusimbi speaking to reporters in Kampala on Friday said that social media posts have misrepresented the facts.
“The is largely about the plight of Ugandans working in the Middle East. However, that is not to say all is well. Our government has often worked worked with other governments to iron out any issues raised,” Walusimbi said.